The National Campaign Against Torture (NCAT), a conglomerate of NGOs working to stamp out torture, said that Chakmas and Hajongs of Arunachal Pradesh regularly face persecution, even at the hands of state police.
The NCAT on Wednesday released its report, “The State of Torture in Arunachal Pradesh”. It also alleged that the Diyun police station in Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh has become the torture chamber of the state.
“Diyun police station is one among the 104 police stations in the state. However, out of the 15 custodial deaths in the state during 2009 to 2019, the Diyun police station had disproportionate share of two custodial deaths. Another person had allegedly committed suicide in the police station,” said Suhas Chakma, Coordinator of the NCAT.
Giving details of the custodial deaths, he said that while Pintu Chakma (26) died in Diyun police station on October 16, 2014, Diganta Saikia (33) died in police custody on November 24, 2017.
Raj Kumar Chakma allegedly committed suicide in the lock-up of Diyun police station on September 3 this year, he said.
“The custodial deaths at Diyun is a systematic and institutionalised discrimination against the Chakmas and Hajongs, who live in the area and license given to the police for lawless law enforcement,” he said.
“Though the Supreme Court has declared the Chakmas and Hajongs as citizens in its judgment on 6 January, 1996 and many of the descendants of the migrants are citizens by birth and have been voting as citizens, the methods of law enforcement have not changed,” he added.
“The Chakmas and Hajongs remain extremely vulnerable to torture as it is known to the law enforcement personnel that neither the state authorities nor the state political leaders shall ever intervene for them,” he said.
“From 23 to 28 May, 2018 Khunna Naam, a murder-accused was allegedly illegally detained for five days and tortured by police at Longding police station during interrogation. After five days of illegal detention, Naam was produced before the local court on 28 May, 2018 and was admitted to a local government health centre in a critical condition. Following the torture, the victim could not even stand on his own feet,” the report said.
The NCAT called upon Arunachal Pradesh government to establish an adequate number of prisons and district courts to deal with the torture of suspects who are mostly detained in police lock-ups, establishing accountability for torture and sensitise the state police not to resort to torture.