JAIPUR – President of People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) Kavita Shrivastva has written to the chairperson of the NHRC (National Human Rights Commission) over the custodial death of sick and elderly Muslim prisoner Mohammed Ramazan and demanded judicial inquiry into incident.
Seeking the intervention of the NHRC, she also demanded “immediate lodging of the FIR against the police guards involved in the custodial violence leading up to death of Ramzan”.
“Communally targeted violence by the authorities raises a serious concern of human rights violations of minorities present inside the various correctional institutes across the nation. Ramzan’s family has suffered a great loss, and a speedy inquiry would give them some solace in these troubling times,” Srivastva said in her letter dated 28 April to the chairperson of the NHRC.
60-year-old Ramazan died under police custody at Kota Medical Hospital on 26 April. In a video surfaced on social media, Ramazan is being seen to say that he was brutally beaten up by jail guards 8 times. His family members alleged that the guards were communally targeting them. They don’t allow him to offer prayer. Ramzan, who was seriously ill, was severely beaten up after his wife and son refused to give bribe Rs.500 to the jail guards.
After his death, his family members refused to take body unless and until the accused are booked and the victim’s kin is give compensation Rs 50 lakh. So far, four guards have been removed in the incident.
In her letter, Srivastva has raised suspicion over the nature of the removal of the guards. “The police authorities need to answer for the complete lack of due diligence in the above matter,” she said.
Here is the full text of the letter:
National Human Rights Commission
Subject – Immediate intervention of the NHRC in the matter of the custodial death of Mohd. Ramzan, age 60 years, inmate of Baran Jail due to custodial violence by the police guards of the Prison Ward of Kota Medical College Hospital on the 26th of April
As you are aware Mohammaed Ramzan, son of Hafiz Alimuddin, resident of Mangrol, District Baran, Rajasthan was imprisoned in Baran Prison under the charges of Section 347 of the Indian Penal Code i.e. wrongful confinement to extort property, or constrain to illegal act. He was awarded a two year imprisonment by the sessions court of Baran. He was out on bail, when the High Court of Rajasthan rejected his appeal, he was arrested again in 2018 and put in Baran Jail. Subsequently a Special Leave Petition was also filed in Supreme Court for bail, but the SLP was rejected.
Ramzan complained of liver and other gastro problems, so he was referred to the Kota Medical College for treatment. In the Jail ward of the Kota Medical College, there is a constant rotation of 4 guards sent by the police. A video which surfaced before the demise of Ramzan, shows him telling that three of these guards only had beaten him up very badly. He says the guards were inebriated on alcohol, and would beat him up when he would cry up in pain. Upon talking to the Rizwan, son of Ramzan, he informs us that these guards would asks for Rs 500/- for each meeting of the family with the patient, so the family had complained about this demand to higher authorities, which has worsened the relationship between Ramzan and the guards.
Ramzan was then referred to SMS Hospital Jaipur, the family was informed that a leg of Ramzan had been fractured amd needed to be operated upon urgently so they rushed to Jaipur. The family met Ramzan once, this is the day the video was recorded in which Ramzan has given a statement against the guards. They were then denied access to the patient, and were later informed that the patient has been transferred back to Kota. The guards on their own volition moved Ramzan back to Kota, denying him proper medical treatment, which went against the advice of the doctors present and treating Ramzan. When the family of Ramzan was rushing to Kota, they were informed by the prison officials that Ramzan has expired in their custody of the police in the ward for prisoners of the Kota Medical College. The death was recorded at 10:30PM on the 26th of April 2019.
The family refused to take the custody of the dead body of Ramzan, until and unless a FIR was filed against the 4 police guards of the jail ward of Kota Medical College as well as those who took him away from the SMS Medical College, Jaipur. After 14-15 hours, SP Kota City assured the family that an enquiry will be done of the custodial death by a judicial magistrate under Section 176 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. He also informed the family that the four guards have been removed, the nature of removal is unclear, whether is a suspension or a change in duty. Post Mortem has been done by a Medical Board. Upon this reassurance, the family has now taken the custody of the body to go ahead with the burial of the departed man.
Immediate lodging of the FIR against the police guards involved in the custodial violence leading up to death of Ramzan, the police inquiry can run parallel to the judicial inquiry. The police authorities need to answer for the complete lack of due diligence in the above matter.
A detailed inquiry needs to be done by the Kota Medical College Hospital as to how could the prisoners ward allows such brazen violence against an ill man.
Compensation to the family of Ramzan.
Both the jails, Baran Jail and Kota Jail should submit a report each to NHRC, SHRC, home secretary and DG Prisons within 24 hours of the custodial death as required by the guidelines of the NHRC
The videography Post Mortem Report and the enquiry report by the Judicial Magistrate must be submitted to the NHRC at the earliest possible instance.
We would be highly obliged if a free and fair inquiry can be done on Ramzan’s custodial death urgently. Communally targeted violence by the authorities raises a serious concern of human rights violations of minorities present inside the various correctional institutes across the nation. Ramzan’s family has suffered a great loss, and a speedy inquiry would give them some solace in these troubling times.