Gangster flees, Rajasthan cops force alleged accomplices to parade in underwear

In a clear violation of human rights of people in police custody, Rajasthan police forced 13 alleged accomplices of Haryana gangster Vikram Singh alias Papla, to walk through a crowded market place in Behror in just their underwear. While the police insist it was just ‘moka muayana’ or a simple ‘recreation of the crime scene’, the act raises several questions about how this is a form of psychological torture, a form of humiliation forbidden under various international conventions on the subject of treatment of inmates in prison or police custody.

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According to provision laid down in the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners about Clothing and bedding:

(1) Every prisoner who is not allowed to wear his own clothing shall be provided with an outfit of clothing suitable for the climate and adequate to keep him in good health. Such clothing shall in no manner be degrading or humiliating.

(2) All clothing shall be clean and kept in proper condition. Underclothing shall be changed and washed as often as necessary for the maintenance of hygiene.

(3) In exceptional circumstances, whenever a prisoner is removed outside the institution for an authorized purpose, he shall be allowed to wear his own clothing or other inconspicuous clothing.

This sight of 13 men in their innerwear walking in a single file flanked by a heavy police cover, was recorded by hordes of people on their mobile phones. Singh had escaped on September 6 and his alleged accomplices were accompanied by around 150 policemen who trod along with them for around 2 kms before herding them back to the van. This is also a violation of their right to privacy and threatens their mental health.

Speaking of this action of the police force, Amandeep Singh Kapoor, Superintendent of Police, Bhiwadi said, “The parade was not for identification of the accused. It was only done for reconstruction of the crime scene. We were verifying their presence. New things are coming to fore in the case.” But Kapoor’s words ring hollow, especially in wake of the mild slap on the wrist which the police officers in charge got for their negligence, incompetence and possible complicity.

Vikram Singh’s escape from Behror police station was made possible by an alleged information leak that came hours before his arrest by a highway patrol. Armed with AK-47s, more than a dozen men stormed the police station making away with the gangster and sending the cops running for cover.

For negligence in the matter of Vikram Singh’s arrest, two head constables were dismissed and two senior officials, including the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) were suspended from service. The remaining 69 police officers at the Behror police station were moved to the police line with fresh deployments replacing them.



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