NHRC issues notice to the Government of Tamil Nadu on a media report about the illegal detention and torture of a juvenile of Kurava community by Tamil Nadu police

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National Human Rights Commission: Taking suo motu cognizance on the basis of a media report about the illegal detention and torture of a juvenile of Kurava community by Tamil Nadu police, Commission has issued a notice to the Government of Tamil Nadu through its Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police, calling for a detailed report, including the action if any, taken against the erring police personnel, within 4 weeks.

The media report, carried on the 7th August, 2016, under the heading “Ms. Bedi, I am a Kurava, and I’am not a thief”, narrates the story of the continued discrimination and torture of persons from ex-criminal tribe Kuravar. The story gives an account of the feelings of a Kurava boy in the backdrop of a tweet, reportedly made by Ms Kiran Bedi, Governor of Puducherry that “ex-criminal tribes” are very cruel professionals in committing crimes and rarely caught or convicted.

They were subjected to unbearable torture and inhuman treatment by the police during their detention at the police station for three days. The victims were made partially naked, beaten up with wooden log and were being forced to name someone from their community for his involvement in the theft. Badly injured, they had to drink the water, fetched from the lock-up toilet, as the drinking water was not available to them.

The juvenile was reportedly, released when his family intervened to convenience the police that he was just 17 years of age. The boy has stated that he is earning his life by doing the traditional job called Kallu Kuthurathu i.e. making old grinding stones non-abrasive and has nothing to do with the alleged crime. He appears to be totally disillusioned, with the ways of world, wondering whether what his father, uncle, cousin and he suffered was just because they were born as Kuravas.

The Joint Commissioner of Police (West), Chennai, reportedly stated that they were arrested for burglary and 18 sovereigns of jewellery had been recovered from one of them. He, however, also stated that he was not aware of detention of any juvenile by police. Reportedly, the family has filed a Habeas Corpus petition in the High Court for the two relatives of the boy who were detained by police along with him.

National Human Rights Commission

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