Kashmir government asked to compensate rickshaw-puller’s kin

Thursday, January 13, 2011

NEW DELHI - The Jammu and Kashmir government has been asked to pay compensation to the family of a rickshaw-puller who died due in the state police custody due to torture, a statement said Thursday.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in a statement said it has asked the state government to pay Rs.500,000 to the family of the victim and send a report on the matter and a proof of payment within six weeks’ time. The commission had recommended the compensation Aug 19, 2009, but the state government contended the rights panel has no jurisdiction in the matter.

The statement said: “Putting aside the contention of the Jammu and Kashmir government that the NHRC does not have jurisdiction to give recommendations in case of death in the state due to police atrocity, the commission has said that its recommendations do not interfere with any of the heads of legislation.”

“Mohan Lal, a poor rickshaw-puller, became a victim of police atrocity. He was taken into custody in June 2003 and was allegedly tortured and killed. The acts alleged were not in discharge of maintaining any public order, and there was no case registered against him. It was not as a part of any investigation also,” it added.

Mohan Lal was suspected of involvement in some burglaries which had taken place in Jammu city. He was picked up by Jammu police from Amritsar June 21, 2003, and taken to Jammu for interrogation where he died in police custody.

According to an NHRC official, the incident was brought to the commission’s notice by Suhas Chakma, director of the Asian Centre for Human Rights, an NGO.

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