Illegal arrest and custodial torture of tribal youth at the Sultan Bathery police station in Kerala

On 12 November 2021, a tribal youth identified as Deepu (22 years) was tortured at the Sultan Bathery police station in Wayanad district of Kerala. The victim is a resident of Athikadavu Paniya tribal colony of Meenangadi town in Wayanad district of Kerala. He is a daily wage worker..

On 12 November 2021, he was arrested by the police of Sultan Bathery police station in a vehicle theft case, which his relatives allege is a fabricated one. Sultan Bathery Station House Officer Benny K P who claimed that during interrogation the victim confessed to the theft. While the police claimed that he was caught fleeing with the stolen car on 5 November, the family members of the tribal youth alleged that he doesn’t even know how to ride a bicycle, let alone drive a car.

The family members also alleged that he was tortured in police custody and that the police also allegedly framed him in some other fabricated cases. Deepu’s mother Leela claimed that the police beat her son in front of them when they went to enquire at the police station. She alleged that the police even did not him food the whole day.

The victim is currently lodged in the district jail at Mananthavady. Arresting and instituting false cases against tribals constitute an act of “atrocity” under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and further, custodial torture is a gross human rights violation.

The Indigenous Rights Advocacy Centre (IRAC) has filed a complaint and sought the immediate intervention of the National Human Rights Commission.

Image : Deepu’s mother