The Hills Times
16 October 2019
GUWAHATI, Oct 16: The National Campaign Against Torture (NCAT) has said that Chakmas and Hajongs of Arunachal Pradesh regularly face persecution, even at the hands of the state police.
The NCAT, a conglomerate of NGOs working to stamp out torture, on Wednesday released its report, “The State of Torture in Arunachal Pradesh”.
The report mentioned that Diyun police in the state have become a torture chamber for the Chakma and Hajong tribesmen which have recorded at least two of the state’s custodial deaths in last ten years, followed by suicide.
“At the heart of the Diyun becoming Arunachal’s torture chamber lies the systematic and institutionalised discrimination against the Chakmas and Hajongs who live in the area,” said NCAT coordinator Suhas Chakma.
“License is given to the police for lawless law enforcement,” he added.
He further said the Chakmas and Hajongs continued to be tortured despite the Supreme Court declaring them citizens in 1996.
“Many of the descendants of the migrants are citizens by birth and have been voting as citizens,” Chakma said. “However, the methods of law enforcement have not changed,” he added.
“Chakmas and Hajongs remain extremely vulnerable to torture as it is known to the law enforcement personnel that neither the State authorities nor the State political leaders shall ever intervene for them,” he said.
The report also mentioned about case studies of torture on Chakma and Hajongs by the state police on different occasions.
“From May 23 to 28 last year, one Khunna Naam, a murder accused was allegedly illegally detained for five days and tortured by police at Longding police station during interrogation,” the report said.
“After five days of illegal detention, Naam was produced before the local court on 28 May 2018 and was admitted to a local government health centre in critical condition,” the report fur- ther added.
“Following the torture, the victim even could not stand on his own feet,” the report further said. Giving details of the custodial deaths, he said that while Pintu Chakma (26) died in Diyun po- lice station on October 16 2014, Diganta Saikia (33) died in police custody on November 24, 2017. Raj Kumar Chakma allegedly committed suicide in the lock-up of Diyun police station on September 3 this year, he said.
“The custodial deaths at Diyun is a systematic and institutionalised discrimination against the Chakmas and Hajongs, who live in the area and license given to the police for lawless law en- forcement,” Chakma said. “Though the Supreme Court has declared the Chakmas and Hajongs as citizens in its judgment on 6 January 1996 and many of the descendants of the migrants are citizens by birth and have been voting as citizens, the methods of law enforcement have not changed,” he added. The NCAT called upon Arunachal Pradesh to establish an adequate number of prisons and district courts to deal with the torture of suspects who are mostly detained in police lock-ups, establishing accountability for torture and sensitise the State Police not to resort to torture.