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Torture on Barapind: Punjab Police & Govt has no convincing reason for not complying court orders for medical examination

November 12, 2012 | By

Bhai Kulbir Singh Barapind, President of ADPP and Member of SGPC from Phillaur

Phillaur/Ludhiana, Punjab (November 12, 2012): Punjab Police and Punjab Government have reportedly failed to provide any convincing reason for their failure to get Bhai Kulvir Singh Barapind examined by a medical board of doctors to ascertain the traces of custodial torture.

Bhai Kulvir Singh Barapind, a resident of Barapind Village near Phillaur, is member of Shiromani Gurudwara Prabhandak Committee (SGPC) from Phillaur constituency. He is President of Akali Dal Panch Pardhani, a Sikh political party favouring exercise of right to self-determination for Sikhs in India. He is the only elected member of SGPC from Punjab’s Doaba region who has successfully contested the SGPC election against candidate of Punjab’s ruling party called Badal Dal.

“Indian authorities seldom deny that torture is a problem, but their failure to ensure the safety of someone in a high-profile international case shows how extensive it is. This case spotlights the urgency for India to enact the Prevention of Torture bill and put its provisions into immediate effect”.

– Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director.

(read more from the statement issued by Human Rights Watch)

It is notable that Punjab police had arrested Bhai Kulvir Singh on the intervening night of 19 and 20 September, 2012 for alleged preventive reasons. He was charged with Sections 107/151 of Criminal Procedure Code and was sent to Ludhiana jail. But on the very early morning of September 21, 2012 while he was confined in Ludhiana Jail, he was booked wide F.I.R. No. 137 dated September 21, 2012 under Indian Penal Code Sections 120-B (Criminal Conspiracy), 121 (Waging War against the State), 121A (Conspiracy to Wage War against the State; Sections 25, 54, 59 and 25A of Arms Act; Sections 3, 4, and 5 of Explosive Act and Sections 17, 18, 18A, 19, 20, 38, 39, 40 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

He was tortured during custody to extract false confessions or statement.

On September 25, 2012 Bhai Kulvir Singh Barapind complained in the court of judicial magistrate first class Jatinder Pal Singh that during his police remand he was tortured by the police by applying electric shocks and demanded his medical examination.

On September 26, 2012 Adovcate Kashmir Singh Malhi, counsel of Bhai Kulvir Singh Barapind moved formal application in the court to get Bhai Kulvir Singh Barapind examined by board of doctors to determine and document the traces of torture. On this date Bhai Kulvir Singh was sent to Kapurthala Jail after the expiry of his police remand.

Entertaining the application on September 28, 2012, the court of judicial magistrate first class Jatinder Pal Singh directed the chief medical officer (CMO) of the civil hospital, Jalandhar, to constitute a medical board for medical examination of Kulvir Singh Barapind. The copy of order is available with Sikh Siyasat News.

In this order the court had also issued direction to the jail superintendent of Kapurthala to do the needful for medical examination of Kulvir Singh Barapind as per rules and even ordered to ensure the compliance of the order.

On September 30, 2012 Bhai Kulvir Singh was transferred to Maximum Security Jail Nabha.

Punjab police was required to produce Bhai Kulvir Singh in the court on October 10, 2012 but the police failed to produce him to the court.

On October 22, 2012 when Bhai Kulvir Singh was produced before the court he told his counsel that the authorities did not get him examined from the board of doctors despite the court orders. On the basis of statement of Bhai Kulvir Singh, an application was again moved in the court on Oct. 22, complaining against the concerned authorities for their deliberate failure to get Bhai Kulvir Singh examined from the board of Doctors as per Court orders.

The court had accepted the application and fixed October 30, 2012 as court date for arguments in this matter.

Bhai Harpal Singh Cheema, acting president of Akai Dal Panch Pardhani (ADPP) and a counsel for Bhai Kulvir Singh Barapind, told Sikh Siyasat News (SSN) that the prosecution had no convincing reason to justify their failure to get Bhai Kulvir Singh medically examined from the board of doctors despite court orders.

“Prosecution argued in the court that they were not aware regarding the whereabouts of Bhai Kulvir Singh as he was not in police custody at that time” Bhai Cheema informed SSN over phone.

According to information the prosecution further argued that the defence was aware that Bhai Kulvir Singh was shifted to Nabha Jail and it’s was failure of defence to extend this information to the prosecution.

“We told the court that we had no obligation to inform the prosecution regarding whereabouts of a person who is in judicial custody and is confined in jail as per judicial and administrative decisions” Bhai Cheema told SSN.

He further told that it is illogical to say that prosecution, police and jail authorities were unaware of the fact that Bhai Kulvir Singh was shifted to Nabha Jail.

“Even if, it is admitted that the authorities who were required to get Bhai Kulvir Singh medically examined as per court orders, were not aware of his whereabouts, why they did not report this fact to the court at the earliest possible?” he argued.

“We told the court that it was a deliberate failure on the part of authorities because they suspected that the board could find the traces of torture on the body parts of Bhai Kulvir Singh.” Bhai Cheema added.

It is learnt that the court has fixed November 19, 2012 as the court date to issue an order in this matter.

Update: It is learnt that before November 19, 2012 the court of First Class Judicial Magistrate Jatinderpal Singh was abolished and all the cases or matters that were pending before that court were transferred to duty magistrates. 

Therefore, on November 19, 2012 the Duty Magistrate said that  the matter could only be heard by a regular court, to which the matter may be referred for hearing. 

Duty Magistrate has fixed December 01, 2012 for next hearing.

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