Saturday, November 22, 2008

On torture

It is not very often that the BJP raises the issue of torture (this is not to say that other political parties are particularly vocal on it either). Advani's statements on the alleged torture of Pragya Thakur should therefore be seen as an opportunity to engage the Right on the issue more broadly and hope that at least on this basic issue we can develop a bipartisan consensus. It is with this hope that I wrote this piece in today's Indian Express. Neelabh Mishra makes a rather similar argument in today's issue of the Outlook magazine, although in the broader context of police reforms.

The 2008 Report of the Asian Centre for Human Rights on Torture mentioned in my article is available here. Although I did not mention it in my article for want of space, the Report also examines the role of the NHRC in dealing with torture and concludes that its current powers make it inadequate for the purpose.

Venkatesan helpfully drew my attention to the National Project on Preventing Torture in India, and a Frontline story on a national tribunal on torture held in New Delhi recently.

1 comment:

How do we know said...

A lot of torture happens because torture, like rape, becomes a weapon of power. It is accepted by the peer group of the people inflicting the torture, and the fraternity stands together, even if it is out of necessity.

Perhaps, social condemnation, public outcry against abuse of power at all levels.. perhaps.. and perhaps one is dreaming..