Sri Lankan Tamil refugees of Aanaiyur camp in Madurai are living in morbid fear borne out of Police torture, The New Indian Express reported.
They allege that the Police have been taking them into illegal custody, torture them without even filing a First Information Report (FIR) and release them after they are found innocent.
In the past week alone, the rural Police have taken four refugees – R. Muthu Kumar (34), N. Denikaran (29), V. Alaguraja (48) and J. Pratap (23) – into custody suspecting their hand in various theft cases. They were later released, but only after being subjected to physical abuse.
“The Police made a call to my friend’s mobile and said they wanted to question me regarding a quarrel case. Later on Monday night, four Policemen, most of them in mufti, took me to the Alanganallur station. There they beat me up and forced me to take responsibility for a theft that occurred at Dinamani Nagar near Anaiyur. They released me only on Wednesday morning,” N. Denikaran said.
M. Saraswathi, wife of Muthukumar, one of the victims, claimed that the Police took her husband while they were sleeping on Tuesday night.
“I told them that he was not involved in any crime and requested them to spare him. I assured that I will bring him to the station in the morning if they wanted to question him. But they did not pay heed and dragged him into their vehicle even as my children held on to him tightly,” she alleged.
Narrating the Police torture, Muthukumar, a building painter, said, “They thrashed me with sticks and kicked me with their boots causing injuries all over my body. I pleaded with them that I was not involved in any theft but still they tortured me for about five hours.”
Muthukumar is not new to Police atrocities. In the past too, he had been taken into custody and tortured only to be released later after they found that it was another person, his namesake, who had committed the offence.
Another victim Pratap alleged that he was released only after the Police forcefully took `6000 from him.
Meanwhile, a senior Police official said “Seasoned criminals are booked under Section 41 of CrPc and taken into custody for investigation.” But he denied beating them up.
Henri Tiphagne, a Human Right Activist, said “Taking anyone into custody without a summons is a human rights violation.”