A Dahisar police officer who illegally detained a boy and assaulted him with belts and lathis was let off by the Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission (MSHRC) with a 'strict warning' as the injuries found were 'simple in nature'.
The commission, however, asked the state to compensate the victim with Rs 50,000. Justice S R Bannurmath, chairperson of the MSHRC, also advised the police department to sensitise its officials about guidelines issued by the Supreme Court and National Human Rights Commission with respect to the illegal arrest/detention and prohibition of the use of third degree. "Proper training and sensitisation of police officers has to be done regularly," said the order passed by the commission in April this year.
According to the complaint filed by Rekha Parikh, the mother of the victim, Amit Parikh, the boy was detained and assaulted by one inspector Khatke, assistant inspector of Dahisar police station, when he went there to inquire about his father Santosh, who had been picked up by the police.
The police had contested the claim saying that Amit and Santosh were brought to the police station after a man called Samir Juthani accused them of stealing an auto. However, the records supported Rekha's version as there was no diary entry in the police station to prove Amit's presence there. The boy's claims of assault were corroborated by the records of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Hospital. As per the medical report, Parikh was hit with a blunt substance like a 'belt' or 'lathi', causing simple bruises mainly on right buttock.
The MSHRC found the police's explanation that Amit was suspected of stealing an auto to be 'a far-fetched story made up only to substantiate the reason for bringing Amit and his father Santosh to the police station'.
As per the latest figures released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), Maharashtra continues to record the highest number of custodial deaths in the country. According to the data, 35 people died in police lock-ups in the state in 2013. Autopsies were conducted on all 35, but magisterial inquiries were set up only in five instances and cases were registered in just two. However, no policemen have so far been charge-sheeted or convicted in this connection.