In a gruesome case of human rights violation, a pregnant woman in Buldhana district was tortured by the local police to the extent that she lost her fetus. Upholding the police guilty, the Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission (MSHRC) has now directed the state government to pay a compensation amount of Rs 1 lakh to her.
Further on learning that the woman was harassed only because her husband was suspected to be involved in a gambling case, the commission has issued strict directions to the police to restrain itself from harassing the relatives of suspects, in future cases.
"In the present case, admittedly, the complainant had nothing to do with the alleged police raid except that she is the wife of the alleged criminal involved in matka gambling. The medical evidence and police records fully corroborate the version of the complainant and falsify the police story," observed Justice S. R Bannurmath, chairperson of the MSHRC, in an order passed early this year.
The commission has also ordered the state government to instruct all the police officials to respect the human rights of free citizens and to not indulge in "merciless beatings." "Even in cases of raids, police should restrain themselves in so far as family members of the alleged criminals, especially when they are not connected with the alleged crime," the order read.
As per the facts of the case, on the afternoon of December 16, 2010, four to five policemen came to the house of the complainant and inquired about her husband, when she informed that he wasn't present there. The police first started abusing her and then thrashed her with a piece of a broken wooden chair. A few hours later, she developed severe stomach pain and on being rushed to the hospital, it was found that the foetus she was carrying died and had to be removed.
The police, however, defended itself by denying every allegation and calling it a motivated case. It was then that the MSHRC ordered its investigation wing to look into the allegations. The report filed by the wing supported the woman's story, following which the police was held guilty.
"Taking into consideration the chain of events, the close proximity between the assault and the death of the fetus, it could be said that the death happened, if not due to direct hit on stomach, but as a result of trauma and shock," the commission noted.