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Human rights body JAACT seeks transfer of Savukku Shankar to another prison

The JAACT led by human rights activist Henry Tiphagne, in a detailed statement, claimed that it has confirmed from very reliable sources that Shankar was 'brutally tortured'.
Last Updated : 16 May 2024, 15:37 IST
Last Updated : 16 May 2024, 15:37 IST

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Chennai: Coming out in support of Savukku Shankar, the Joint Action Against Custodial Torture (JAACT) has demanded transfer of the YouTuber and whistleblower from the Coimbatore Central Prison to another in the wake of allegations by him that he was 'tortured inside the jail. 

 The JAACT led by human rights activist Henry Tiphagne, in a detailed statement, claimed that it has confirmed from very reliable sources that Shankar was 'brutally tortured' in the presence of the Coimbatore Central Prison Jail Superintendent Senthil Kumar, given his 'track record on prison custody violations and torture.' 

Shankar, who runs Savukku Media comprising a YouTube channel and a news portal, was arrested on May 4 for making 'defamatory' and 'derogatory' remarks against women police personnel. Since then, as many as seven cases have been filed against him by Tamil Nadu Police, which has also invoked the stringent Goondas Act against him.  

 JAACT maintained that it does not want to enter into the debate whether the allegations made against Shankar are true or false, but stressed that proper investigation followed by prosecution and trial will ultimately bring out the truth.  

The press statement also noted Shankar’s "derogatory and disrespectful remarks against women working in the police and in the media” which it said are “unpardonable” and a grave violation of human rights which strongly includes the dignity of women. 

 “JAACT strongly condemn such comments made by him. JAACT is also aware of his history of humiliating, degrading and belittling various human rights defenders who have led important struggles for the protection of human rights in Tamil Nadu,” the statement said, adding that he has had a history of defending the police torture. 

“Despite the above, JAACT does not tolerate or accept his torture in prison custody on any grounds. All forms of torture are to be totally prohibited, the police or prison officials who indulge in torture are required to be punished according to the law,” the statement said. 

The statement said Shankar’s message to the media on May 13 that there is a threat to his life in Coimbatore jail should be taken seriously by the Director General of Prisons Tamil Nadu. “JAACT calls from Immediate steps being taken to shift him to another prison,” it said. 

The JAACT also condemned the arrest of RedPix journalist Felix Gerald for airing the interview of Shankar and alleged that his arrest from Delhi without a warrant and the non-obtaining of a transit warrant in Delhi and his present incarceration are sufficient proof of gross violation of the law. 

“All the offences against Mr. Felix Gerald in the case in which he was arrested and remanded do not have a sentence above 7 years, hence his remand by the judicial magistrate Tiruchirappalli is totally contrary to the directives of the Apex court in Arnesh Kumar v. State of Bihar,” it said.

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Published 16 May 2024, 15:37 IST

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