Stop Torture Of Adivasis In Cherla, Venkatapuram Mandals

The Human Rights Forum (HRF) demands that the State government take immediate steps to ensure that inhuman torture of Adivasis by the Venkatapuram and Cherla police of Khammam district is stopped.

A three-member HRF team visited six villages in Venkatapuram mandal on Wednesday and spoke with Adivasi residents as well as functionaries of various political parties and mass organisations in the area. We learnt that over the past few weeks the local police have been committing frequent illegalities on citizens, often including torture of the most heinous kind. In the course of what the police term ‘anti-naxal combing operations’, they are picking up Adivasis in night-time raids from their homes. It has become routine for the police to hold these Adivasis in illegal custody beyond the permissible 24-hour limit.

The police have been inflicting terrible violence on those in their custody. The Adivasis are frequently threatened and beaten up. We were shocked to learn that several Adivasis have been subjected to third-degree torture like being administered electric shocks and brutal beatings on the hands and legs with sticks. Adivasis who have suffered this torture find it difficult to resume normal life. They are rendered unfit to carry out farm labour work or collecting bamboo from the forest because of their battered physical condition.

The police do have the task of prevention and investigation of crime but they must do so fully respecting people’s rights and must function within the ambit of the law. The behavior of the Venkatapuram and Cherla police has lead to an unacceptable violation of right to life and liberty. It amounts to the committing of crime.

The HRF also demands that a high-level investigation be ordered into these illegalities being committed by the police. Those responsible for torturing Adivasis must be charged and criminally prosecuted. It is clear that the police have been indulging in torture of those in their custody because they enjoy virtual immunity from prosecution. We urge the government to seriously address the issue of torture by law enforcement personnel.

Villages visited by the HRF team consisting of VS Krishna (State general secretary), SK Khadar Babu (Khammam district president) and D Adinarayana (Khammam district secretary) are: Kalipaka, Kothagumpu, Tippapuram, Mutharam and Penkavagu, all in Alubaka panchayat of Venkatapuram mandal.

VS Krishna
HRF State general secretary


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