Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) has demanded the immediate release of lawyer and prominent Gujjar-Bakerwal social activist Talib Hussain and condemned his alleged torture in police custody.
Eyewitness accounts state that he was harassed and beaten in custody, said the CHRI, in a statement. The police made it difficult for his relatives and a lawyer to meet him. Relatives who saw him at the police station said his head was bandaged and bleeding, said the statement.
“Talib should be immediately removed from police custody and released on bail,” said Devika Prasad, Coordinator of the Police Reforms Programme at CHRI, pointing out that torture in custody is illegal.
Police must be held accountable in such cases for they are the custodians of the health and security of persons in detention. “The Court’s order to the J&K Police to respond to allegations of torture is an important step, considering the challenges in holding the police to account in cases of custodial violence,” said Prasad.
Earlier, Talib Hussain, who had been on the forefront of demanding justice in the Kathua rape-murder case had been arrested for allegedly raping a woman in Jammu and Kashmir’s Samba district.
Talib Hussain was arrested following a complaint lodged on Tuesday by a woman who is his relative, a police official said. In her complaint, the woman alleged that she was raped by Hussain a month-and-a half ago in Chadwa forest, he said.
Hussain, armed with a knife, intercepted the woman when she had gone to the forest for grazing cattle and also thrashed her, the complaint said.
Earlier, in June, a case was registered against Hussain by his wife for alleged torture and dowry demand. In response he said the case was aimed at “aimed at maligning him for raising his voice to seek justice for the Kathua rape and murder victim”.
He was provided anticipatory bail by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court in the case.