Orissa Police face flak for custodial torture

December 26th, 2008 - 5:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Dec 26 (IANS) Human rights activists in Orissa Friday raised a furore over alleged torture of a government employee in police custody earlier this week.Akshaya Kumar Mohanty, a section officer in the soil conservation department at Athgarh in Cuttack district, some 60 km from here, was allegedly tortured by local police on Tuesday while he was being held at the Athgarh police station.

The official was taken in custody by the policy following his refusal to come to the police station for “interrogation” in connection with a crime in the office.

He was allegedly stripped, confined in a cell for hours and beaten up by the policemen. A local television channel telecast footage of a naked Mohanty in confinement at the station. However, he was set free after local residents protested at the police station.

The incident sparked tension in the area and was condemned by the employees’ unions and rights activists in the state.

Mohanty said that the police did not seek permission of the office head before entering into the office premises. Besides, police did not divulge any reason for taking him into custody.

Following the public outcry, the state government immediately suspended in-charge of Athgarh police station Pradipta Kumar Jena and transferred sub-inspector of police Niranjan Sabar to police headquarters at Cuttack, some 20 km from here.

The state government also sought a report from Director General of Police (DGP) on the incident.

“This is a clear violation of supreme court guidelines wherein the apex court has categorically directed the police to follow certain principles while arresting an accused.

The torture of the government employee in police custody amounted to contempt of court”, said rights activist and senior advocate Bibhu Prasad Tripathy.

“The policemen involved should be given exemplary punishment so that such incidents will not recur,” said another rights activist Biswapriya Kanungo.

The activists also demanded a probe into the incident by National Human Rights Commission.

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