Licensed to beat, abuse and kill -MP Nathanael
Police brutality, a colonial legacy, has tenaciously clung on to the mantle of law enforcement personnel
On April 16, Mohammed Rizwan, 19, a resident of Chhajjapur village, Uttar Pradesh, ventured out of his home to buy biscuits. He was beaten with rifle butts and lathis by the police, while other residents purchased their groceries from the shop. In a battered condition, he managed to reach home. After some home remedies did not work, he was admitted to the local hospital where he died in the wee hours of April 18.
There was nothing unusual in this incident or similar acts of brutality committed by the police as migrant workers, taking an arduous inter-State journey, attempted to return to their respective villages. In several places, elderly people were ruthlessly beaten. The high-handedness shown by the police during the various phases of the ongoing lockdown even led to a petition being filed with the State Human Rights Commission of Tamil Nadu. The petition called for the institution of a grievance redressal mechanism to inquire into the excesses committed by law enforcement personnel.
Taking a serious view of police brutality, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative in March issued a set of guidelines for police, in no uncertain terms prohibiting them from using force on persons violating the lockdown regulations. In this regard, the Bengaluru Police later set an example by divesting the policemen of batons and instead engaging in the use of persuasive methods to seriously implement the lockdown.
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The Hindu, 18 May, 2020, https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/licensed-to-beat-abuse-and-kill/article31609626.ece?fbclid=IwAR16YiYzeUapjJRdPlxH6xZO-rNxA5Jgys_y5roCzlaTt2ppqFyKg61l4pA