August 24, 2016 | By Parmjeet Singh
Chandigarh: Lawyers For Human Rights International (LFHRI) yesterday (on August 23) released a fact-finding report on brutal torture of Jaspreet Singh Jassa by Punjab police belonging to Hoshiarpur district.
FULL REPORT READS AS FOLLOWS:
While 1.3 billion citizens of India celebrated the long weekend of the Indian Independence Day, young Jaspreet Singh @ Jassa Singh, a 22 years old young Amritdari Sikh boy, who is also a Gatka teacher by professionwas subjected to the worst kind of interrogation/torture techniques by the Punjab Police between the dates of August 6 to 15, 2016. Jaspreet Singh @ Jassa Singh is an accused in FIR Number 93 registered at Police Station Chabbewal, District Hoshiarpur on August 6, 2016 under sections of provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Arms Act.
After remaining in Police remand from August 6 to August 15, all the four accused were sent to judicial custody to Central Jail, Hoshiarpur. However, finding one of the accused Jaspreet Singh @ Jassa Singh in a bad physical and mental health condition, on August 16, 2016 Jaspreet Singh @ Jassa Singh’s lawyer filed an application for treatment and medical examination of Jaspreet Singh from a board of doctors, upon which the following order was passed by the Hoshiarpur court that,
“An application for directing jail authority to produce accused/applicant before SMO Civil Hospital, Hoshiarpur and to constitute a board to [of] doctors to conduct his medical has been filed today. In view of the contents mentioned in the application, jail authority are directed to produce Jaspreet Singh before SMO, Civil Hospital, Hoshiarpur on 18.8.2016 and further SMO, Hoshiarpur is directed to constitute a board of doctors to conduct the medical examination of the accused/applicant Jaspreet Singh and report to this court on or before 23.8.2016 and if need be accused/applicant Jaspreet Singh be sent to some better institute of [for] his treatment.
On coming to know about the torture in Police custody on August 20, 2016 a team of Lawyers from “Lawyers for Human Rights International” (hereinafter referred to as “LFHRI”)consisting of Navkiran Singh, Navratan Singh and Harjinder Singh Dhami visited Jaspreet Singh @ Jassa Singh and 3 other accused namely Hardeep Singh Deepa, Bikramjit Singhand Kuldeep Singh @ Deepwho had been in judicial custody at the Hoshiarpur Central Jail since August 15, 2016.
On first sight Jaspreet Singh @ Jassa Singh emerged as a healthy youth, with a recently sprouted beard, however his walk and posture was that of an old man in his twilight years, who had not been able to stand straight for decades. His first outburst after greeting us was “please get me out of here”, “they will again come and take me on police remand and further torture me” while his body was trembling with fear and his voice was choked as he described the ordial that he had gone through in Police custody.
He was accompanied by three other young boys his co-accused of the same age, who were also badly tortured, but were in a better condition and were physically supporting Jaspreet Singh @ Jassa Singh from the barracks to the visiting room.
In Jaspreet Singh @ Jassa Singh’s own words he described that:-
The following images are graphical description of the torture techniques that were administered to Jaspreet Singh @ Jassa Singh:
According to Jaspreet Singh @ Jassa Singh’s the worst part of the torture aftermath were the constant stressed nerves in his head, which were obvious signs of post-traumatic stress disorder. He said “I keep hearing myself screaming in pain repeated in my head”.He disclosed to the Lawyers for Human Rights International team that the Punjab Police told him that they will keep administering these shocks to him till he is unable to take anymore and he confesses to the allegation being foisted upon him by the police and that they will ensure that no marks of the torture will appear in any medical report.
Any sane reasonable person who would encounter Jaspreet Singh @ Jassa Singh in this condition would immediately know that he is in dire need of immediate medical treatment, however, to our shock although Jaspreet Singh @ Jassa Singh was produced before SMO, Civil Hospital on August 18, 2016 and a symbolic ‘board of doctors’ was constituted, on inquiry by the LFHRI team we were advised that this expert ‘board of doctors’ believed that no immediate treatment was needed to Jaspreet Singh @ Jassa Singh and they could only advise after receiving his test reports as recommended by them, which were still pending since the last three days. As a result, Jaspreet Singh @ Jassa Singh was sent back to Central Jail, Hoshiarpur.
This in our opinion, was done in complete disregard of the court order, which spelled out in clear language that “if need be, accused/applicant Jaspreet Singh be sent to some better institute of[for] his treatment”. Outraged by the lack of common sense to say the least and blatant display of inhuman dealing by the ‘board of doctors’, the LFHRI team pointed out the obvious professional misconduct of the ‘board of doctors’ and were able to convince the Doctors to call the patient back from the jail and give him the required treatment.
In the afternoon the LFHRI team was able to get Jaspreet Singh @ Jassa Singh transferred from Central Jail to Civil Hospital, Hoshiarpur and we expect that he will receive the much needed medical care.
It is also essential to note that an U.S based human rights NGOi.e. Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) claim that, these arrested youths were their workers and were distributing T-shirts and obtaining signatures for the campaign “Referendum 2020”, which is initiated by SFJ to request the United Nations to hold a referendum on right to self-determination for the Sikhs on the basis of the U.N Charter and International Convent on Civil and Political Rights. A complaint reference has also been made to the United Nations by SFJ on August 17, 2016.
As per The Times of India news article dated August 11, 2016 the following statements have been given by Police officials regarding the arrest of these young boys,
“Jalandhar zone inspector general of police (IG) LokNathAngra said a US resident, Harjap Singh Jaaphi, hailing from Bhilowal village near Chabbewal in Hoshiarpur district, was associated with SFJ and was a proclaimed offender in an old terror related case of murder. “The youths arrested were working for Referendum 2020 launched by SFJ, and they were also planning to carry out some terror activity with the weapons recovered from them,” he said.
Hoshiarpur police registered a case under provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Arms Act on August 6, and arrested three youths — Jaspreet Singh Jassa of Chabbewal, Hardeep Singh Deepa of Jallowal, and Kuldeep Singh of MohalllaShekhan in Hoshiarpur — while recovering three pistols of 9mm and .32 bore, 28 cartridges, T-shirts and religious and other books. They also arrested one Bikramjit Singh of Annaikot Kalan village of Gurdaspur district while recovering 40 rounds of .32 bore, T-shirts and flags.Hoshiarpur senior superintendent of police (SSP) KS Chahal said all of them were arrested from their respective residences.”
To the common man a mythical story of the origin and diffusion of electric torture is endlessly repeated in movies, cheap novels, and uncritical accusations. In the popular imagination, visible in movies like Lethal Weapon or Rambo, electric torture belongs to evil forces such as the cruel ex-Marines, the KGB, the Viet Cong, or Latin American Fascists. Those who truly believe that such vivid images of torture by electric shock are limited to theater and fictional novels are greatly mistaken.
Such horrific incidences are very real and a very unfortunate part of the Punjab Police investigative techniques. While the rest of India might have celebrated the long weekend of Independence Day, Jaspreet Singh @ Jassa Singh was introduced to the dark side of police brutality that exists only in the fictional imagination of the common law abiding citizen.Such impunity given to the police is the largest threat to a functioning free democratic society like India.
LFHRI General Secretary, Navkiran Singh has been an active Human Rights Lawyers for the past 30 years and according to him, “This is the worst condition of a brutally tortured prisoner that I have seen in my 30 years of legal career”. We do hope that the ‘board of doctors’ report in a fear less manner and are able to provide the necessary medical aid to the brutally tortured. LFHRI will wait for the medical report till August 23, 2016 and may have to move the Hon’ble Punjab and Haryana high court for a judicial enquiry.