SIMI undertrials' kin allege torture; NHRC directs on-spot inquiry
Family members of some SIMI suspects lodged at Bhopal Central Jail have approached the NHRC, alleging that prison authorities were torturing them and denying adequate food since the killing of eight undertrials in an encounter last year.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has taken cognisance of the matter and directed its own investigation team to conduct an on-the-spot inquiry and submit a report at the earliest.
A delegation consisting of eight relatives, and members of a few NGOs and civil society, had recently submitted a memorandum to the NHRC, seeking its intervention.
"A representation has been received from Nazma Bi and nine others, most of them residents of district Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh. They are relatives of 21 undertrial prisoners, who are lodged in the Bhopal jail," according to the Commission.
As per details of the complaint, the Commission has observed that "The matter has been thoughtfully considered by the Commission and it is of the view that true facts need to be ascertained in the first instance."
"The DIG (Investigation) of the Commission is requested to constitute a team of officers, headed by an SSP to conduct an on-the-spot investigation and submit their report at the earliest in respect of the truth or otherwise of the allegations made in the complaint," it said.
The memorandum sent to the NHRC has been endorsed by Kavita Srivastava and N D Pancholi of the Peoples Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL), Manisha Sethi of Jamia Teachers' Solidarity Association, and member from the Innocence Network, Quill Foundation, Association for Protection of Civil Rights and People's Watch. In the complaint, the kin have alleged that "several instances of torture and inhuman treatment have been reported to have been meted out to them since October 31, 2016, when eight other undertrials were killed in an encounter". "We are writing to you to express grave concern and seek immediate intervention of the Hon'ble Commission in the cases of custodial torture and human rights violations," the memorandum says.
The eight SIMI activists who had pulled off a daring prison break and escaped in the wee hours after killing a security guard at the Bhopal Central Jail, were on October 31, hunted down and killed in the police encounter on the outskirts of Bhopal.