New Delhi: A fact-finding team has, in its report, concluded that the Uttar Pradesh police used extreme torture including physical violence and sleep deprivation on anti-CAA protestors. The report was a joint endeavour by Quill Foundation, Citizens Against Hate and Haq: Centre for Child Rights.
The report claims that 41 minors were detained and tortured in custody in the days after the anti-citizenship amendment act (CAA) protests took place in Bijnor, Muzaffarnagar and Firozabad.
The team used its own investigations conducted between January 10 and 24 and media reports including those from The Wire for its report.
The report claims that 41 minors were detained and tortured in custody in Bijnor, Muzaffarnagar and Firozabad and did not receive any legal assistance. All the minors that the fact-finding team spoke to claimed that they had been beaten by the police using batons and were also made to watch the police torture adults who had been detained.
According to the report, among those detained was a 15-year-old physically challenged boy. “I kept telling them that I am physically challenged. But they wouldn’t listen. They put me in a police van and started beating me up nonstop,” the boy told the team.
A 17-year-old, who was held in Bijnor, also alleged police brutality. “Mostly they beat us on the lower parts of our body. I was not able to walk properly for 15 days. The police detained me on Friday and released on Sunday night. Till then I was in custody where they beat me brutally,” the minor said.
Another minor from Indore said that the police did not let them sleep and they were beaten if they fell asleep. “I pressed my fingers against my eyelids to keep my eyes open. If you nodded off, the guards would hit you with a stick,” he said.
The Wire was among the first media outlets to report on police brutalities in Bijnore, including accounts of minors in custody being beaten by the police. The Wire‘s report also found that, of the 104 people detained on just one day of the protest, 21 were minors.
The fact-finding team has also claimed that the minors were also shown bruises and other prisoners being beaten in an attempt to intimidate them. “I was pushed inside a big hall where about 150 people were detained and were being beaten up. I saw many young people and children in the age group of 15-16 years in the group as well. Police officials were beating everybody present in the hall. While one police official held the hands of the detainees, the other police official was raining lathi blows mercilessly on bare bodies,” one of the minors told the fact-finding team.
The report has recommended that the UP state government carry out a time-bound judicial enquiry on police action, particularly against minors.