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PUCL, July 2009

Torture in police custody of student leader

PUCL, DK report on the custodial torture on Tejaswiraj, President  of National  Students Union of India, D.K.

PUCL representative met Tejaswiraj in room no: 210 at the AJ Hospital near Kottara junction, Mangalore.  It is observed that his right leg and thigh are completely covered in bandage. He has difficulty in walking. The following is an account of the circumstances surrounding Tejaswiraj’s arrest as narrated by him:

The main accused Riyaz is a friend of a certain Radhakrishna’s acquaintance. This person Radhakrishna is a childhood  friend of Tejaswiraj.  About one year ago, Riyaz was taken to a mobile shop in Falnir by one Sajid. Riyaz had made some purchases in that mobile shop through credit card. This was a fraudulent transaction. 

Why did the police, who now claim that they have a CD of the CCTV recording of that transaction in the shop, had not taken any action for nearly one year? The Falnir mobile shop falls under the Pandeshwar PS and not under the Mangalore Rural station.   Sajid, arrested recently by the Mangalore Rural police, gave them the name of his friend Majid.  Majid was called to the Mangalore Rural PS on Monday(29th June?). This person Majid gave Radhakrishna’s and Tejaswiraj’s telephone numbers to the police.

Immediately Tejaswiraj was called to the Mangalore Rural police station. The moment he set eyes on Tejaswiraj the Sub Inspector Prakash, said, “Oh, we have been waiting for long to get hold of you. Wait for 5 minutes.”

All of a sudden Tejaswiraj’s eyes were blindfolded and he was driven to some unknown location. Upon reaching there his blindfold was removed and he managed to see that he was at a house on top of a hill and the vehicle that brought him was a private silver-coloured Travera.  The location could be somewhere around Neerumarga.

Within five minutes SI Prakash made his appearance in this place.  He asked Tejaswiraj to show the credit card. Tejaswiraj replied that he did not possess any credit card. But he was repeatedly beaten and subjected to roller treatment. Finally he could not bear it any more and said yes and showed his ATM card and said this all that I have. SI Prakash abused him and said, “Now that I have caught you I’ll show you what police is. You have a bias against the police hunh? .....I’ll see to it that you won’t get into politics any more. I have CCTV records of you inside the shop.”  He then called up the Kavoor SI Anantha Padmanabha and forced Tejaswiraj to apologise to him.

On the following afternoon Tejaswiraj was transferred to the Pandeshvar PS. There he was kept for 3 days since he had been charged under non-bailable offences. Finally on the evening of Friday the 3rd,  he managed to obtain conditional bail. Immediately he got himself admitted in AJ Hospital.  Though the hospital has now sent a medico-legal report to the Kadri PS, till now no one has visited the hospital.

Tejaswiraj has also made an important observation that there are four Muslim youth undergoing torture in the same house that he was detained in.

Observations and comments
Tejaswiraj is the president of the district unit of the National Students Union of India (NSUI) which is affiliated to the Congress Party. He has been very active in exposing and protesting the misdeeds of Sangh Parivar. He had led student protests against the government-sponsored “Movement Against Terrorism” organised by Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishat (ABVP).  This so-called movement was clearly meant to further divide the student community on communal lines. Thus Tejaswiraj has been a thorn on the side of the ABVP and its mentors, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The Sangh Parivar has been wanting to target him since a long time and now that there is a majority BJP government in power, the witch hunt has started.  The targets are secular groups and persons like Tejaswiraj and the minorities.

It is a fact that the Dakshina Kannada police force has become saffronised to a great extent. This has happened over a long period of time and has been done systematically by the Sangh Parivar as part of their larger agenda. If Dakshina Kannada today has become one of the most communal hot spots in the entire country, then part of the credit is due to this saffronised police force. SI Prakash and many other policemen with diseased brains are the sad end-results of very, very clever RSS propaganda. Such policemen are unfit to be in the Indian police because they have no respect for the secular values of the Indian Constitution. They have been brain-washed by RSS to such an extent that it has turned them into blind minority-haters. They arrest members of minority communities, especially Muslims, and subject them to torture on the smallest pretext/suspicion.  During the recent attacks on Christian churches, the Sangh Parivar bias of the police was very much in evidence. This has been witnessed and recorded on video. A report on the incident that appeared in the Kannada daily newspaper “Karavali Ale” dated 6/7/09 is enclosed.

Reportedly SI Anantha Padmanabha and SI Pramod are relations of the present district-in-charge minister.

This report  is prepared by M/s. P.B. D’Sa, James Lewis and Suresh Bhat of People’s Union for Civil Liberties. Dakshina Kannada

People's Union for Civil Liberties, 81 Sahayoga Apartmrnts, Mayur Vihar I, Delhi 110091, India. Phone (91) 11 2275 0014