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ACHR Press Release
ACHR Index: PR/IND/J&K/01/10/03
14 October 2003

NHRC urged to summon J&K Chief Secretary

Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) today urged the National Human Rights Commission to summon the Chief Secretary and Home Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir for their failure to comply with the directions of the NHRC on the inhumane torture and custodial death of Mr Mohan Lal by the Jammu Police on 2 July 2003. Taking cognizance of a complaint from ACHR, on 25 July 2003 NHRC directed the Chief Secretary and Home Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir to submit their reply within four weeks. As they failed to submit the reply, NHRC sent reminders on 25 August 2003 and 11 September 2003. However, on both occasions the J&K Chief Secretary and Home Secretary ignored the directions of the NHRC.

"This is a clear contempt of the NHRC and a fit case for summoning the Chief Secretary and Home Secretary to appear personally before the NHRC to ensure compliance with the directions" - stated Mr Suhas Chakma, Director of ACHR.

Mohan Lal, a riskshaw puller and a Dalit hailing from Mahal village, Amritsar, Punjab succumbed to torture at District Police Lines (DPL) hospital at Jammu, Jammu and Kashmir on 2 July 2003. A father of three children, Mohan Lal was one of the suspects rounded up by the Gangyal police in Jammu on 21 June 2003 in connection with the burglaries allegedly committed by the 'Kala Kacha' gang in different parts of Jammu.

He was brutally tortured in custody at Gangyal police station, Jammu. He was hit on private parts and had ruptures on several parts of his body. As he reportedly complained of facing problems in passing urine and blood oozing out along with urine, he was shifted to DPL hospital on 1 July 2003 with grievous injuries due to torture. Although his condition continued to deteriorate, he was not shifted to General Medical College and succumbed to the injuries at DPL hospital.

Since the death of Mr Mohan Lal, the Jammu police have been making all efforts to hush up the case. The post mortem conducted at DPL hospital in Jammu did not find any marks of torture. However, after his dead body was sent to his village, the District Magistrate of Amritsar ordered re-examination (post-mortem) of the body on 4 July 2003. The three-member medical board reportedly found as many as 36 marks of electric shocks, bruises and torture marks on different parts of the body of Mr Mohan Lal, which had caused the death.

"The fact that the post-mortem conducted at Jammu did not show any mark on the dead body of Mohan Lal raises question about medical ethics of the doctors despite the guidelines issued by the National Human Rights Commission on the issue" - stated Mr Chakma in his complaint to the NHRC.

ACHR requested the NHRC to order an inquiry by the investigation wing of the NHRC, to direct suspension of all the police personnel who have been charged by the Punjab Police for the custodial death of Mohan Lal, to pay an interim compensation of Rs 500,000 (five lakhs) to the family of the victim, direct the Indian Medical Association to conduct an inquiry into the violation of medical ethics during the conduct of postmortem of Mr Mohan Lal in Jammu and take appropriate actions, to develop appropriate programmes with the Indian Medical Association for elaboration and promotion of the United Nations Principles of Medical Ethics relevant to the Role of Health Personnel, particularly Physicians, in the Protection of Prisoners and Detainees against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; and to establish a legal cell within the NHRC for prosecution of the culprits responsible for custodial death. [END]

For more information please call Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights in New Delhi, India at +91-11-25503624 or 25620583

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