ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Police Harassment and Rights Body

There is much that is wrong with the manner in which the state Human Rights Commissions investigate complaints.

It is human psychology, that we tend to believe a known person’s plea of innocence rather than listen to the allegations of someone who is unknown. The members of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission (WBHRC) are human beings, after all. For them, the police obviously have more credibility than a poor victim. Of course, the commission has the right to reject a complaint if it is not satisfied with the evidence. However, in collecting evidence and weighing its merit, the WBHRC has to give primacy to the source of information. According to its reliability index, perhaps information supplied by the police has the highest value.

Jagannath Shaw, a worker of Shyamnagar Jute Mill, lives in the mill’s quarters at Bhadreswar in Hooghly district. On December 8, 1998, he was taken to the police station for interrogation regarding some silver jewellery missing from a neighbour’s house. He was let off once, and again taken into custody after midnight. He was kept in the lock-up till December 11, when he was produced in court. During this period, Shaw complained before the commission, he was tortured by various means. Needles were pushed under his fingernails, he was beaten, and administered electric shocks. According to him, a police officer, known as ‘Chhoto Babu’ in local parlance, led the assault.

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