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Kerala: God’s Own Country or the Land of ‘Urutti Kola’?, August 2018

New Delhi: In its report, “Kerala: God’s Own Country or the Land of ‘Urutti Kola’?, released today, Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) stated that ‘Urutti Kola’ i.e. murder by ‘rolling’ a heavy wooden log or iron pipe over the body, specially over the thighs of the victims is Kerala’s contribution to the lexicon of custodial violence in the world. During 2008-2018, a total of 395 custodial deaths had taken place in Kerala.

Explaining the practice of brutal torture perpetrated by the Kerala Police, ACHR stated that Udayakumar was so brutally tortured in custody on 27 September 2005 by two Kerala police officials, K Jithukumar and SV Sreekumar that vessels in his thighs ruptured as a result of ‘Urutti Kola’ and this caused his death. Similarly, on 9 April 2018, SR Sreejith of Varapuzha in Ernakulam district was also so brutally beaten that most of his small intestine was ruptured and the food he had eaten had spilled into other organs, causing his death as per the post mortem report.

Though, in a first on 25 July 2018, a special court of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) handed down death penalty to two Kerala police officials namely K Jithukumar and SV Sreekumar for torturing to death of Udaykumar, impunity and judicial delay continue to perpetuate torture in the State.

“Impunity is the root cause of continuing torture and custodial violence in the State. The indictments by the Kerala State Human Right Commission and the Kerala State Police Complaints Authority are routinely ignored by the police authorities. That on 7 August 2018, the Kerala High Court had to initiate suo motu contempt of court proceedings against the State Police Chief, District Police Chief, and other police officers concerned for non-compliance of the judgement of the Supreme Court convicting C.S. Ramachandran Nair, a retired Superintendent of Police, J. Abdul Kalam, retired Head Constable and E. Subair Kunju, retired Sub Inspector, for custodial torture of one Balachandran and his wife in September 1988 is self-explanatory about the state of impunity in the coastal State.” –stated Mr Dilip Kanti Chakma, Legal Officer of Asian Centre for Human Rights.

Asian Centre for Human Rights urged the State Government of Kerala to prohibit the use of torture for administration of justice or law enforcement and establish fast track courts to try those responsible for torture. [Ends]

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