Waliullah Ahmed Laskar
I have gone through the sworn affidavit of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur. If what she has stated on oath is true, undoubtedly the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad is violating her human rights. She is just an accused/suspect. No human being loses his/her inalienable rights, which inhere in him/her only by virtue of his/her being a human being. Right to freedom from torture is such an inalienable human right.
Apart from the political influence on them, the police in India work in a legal frame-work which is a legacy of colonialism. That is why we see our police often become torturers and violate inviolable rights of the citizens. The institution of police and other law enforcement establishments are in dire need of drastic reformation. Many colonial laws also should be drastically amended.
Other than these, I think the following issues also need national attention:
First, India should ratify the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and should pass a legislation incorporating the provisions of the convention and providing adequate compensation to victims which is reimbursable from the violator/s.
Second, India should withdraw all reservations on the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Also, India should ratify/accede to the Statute of International Criminal Court.
Third, terror offences should be dealt with under a special legislation which would provide, inter alia, an autonomous commission comprising sitting/retired Supreme Court and High Court judges, human rights activists of unimpeachable credentials and such other persons. There should be a force specially trained in investigation of complex offences committed anywhere in India and the law should provide for procedure of investigation which will ensure respect for the human rights of the accused/suspects.
Fourth, there must be no narco-analysis. Human rights activists have been demanding this for far too long.Let Central guidelines be formulated and adopted by Parliament to ensure the above.
In the interim, the State and national human rights commissions must regularly prepare and publicise status reports on the findings and actions taken on complaints of human rights violations.