KSHRC lobbies for policing team

 The Karnataka State Human Rights Commission (KSHRC) recently received a complaint from a distraught mother that policemen had whisked her son away from Bangalore to Molakalmur in Chitradurga a few hours earlier.

The mother complained directly to the commission chairperson Meera Saxena.Saxena asked the KSHRC Inspector-General to rush to Molakalmur and prevent the man from being harmed.

 Mid-way to Chitradurga, the IGP and his team were asked to turn back as the local police released the man from their custody without framing charges. But not before “strong-arming” him into settling dues with a man with “connections” in the Molakalmur police station.

“Cases such as these repeatedly come to us as our police team is centralised and dependent on the same police stations which are alleged to have committed human rights atrocities. Hence, we have requested a separate team to be set up in each of the six police ranges in the State,” said Saxena. In the past, the State government has repeatedly turned down the KSHRC request on the grounds that too many similar agencies were working to keep a check on police excesses.

The commission first made the proposal in 2013. Since then, the human rights body has repeated the proposal several times. It has sought one Superintendent of Police (SP) along with 34 lower-level officers in each of the six police ranges. “If we have a police wing in these six ranges, keeping tabs on human rights violations, police atrocity cases, etc, will be easier. People will start having belief in the KSHRC as not only a reactive body but also one that is preventive,” said Saxena. None of the arguments has cut ice with the State government so far. 

In its defence, the government recently cited the setting up of the State Police Complaints Authority (SPCA). It said the SPCA also deals with police excesses. The government has also cited the existence of the Lokayukta and the grievance wing of the Karnataka police.
  The KSHRC has countered the government saying the SPCA and the other agencies are primarily bodies that handle cases involving officials above the rank of SP. But, “most complaints to KSHRC are to do with local police stations. “Even if we forward complaints to the police higher-ups, they direct these to the very same police station limits where human rights violations happened, for further investigations,” said Saxena.

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