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NHRC Team visits Central Prison, Tihar to inquire into important issues pertaining to Shri Kanhaiya Kumar; inquiry report forwarded to Commission of Police, Delhi and Director General of Prisons, Tihar Jail for comments (19.02.2016)

New Delhi, 19th February, 2016

On 16.02.2016, the Commission took suo motu cognizance of the newspaper report published in Hindu newspaper dated 13.02.2016 captioned as “Govt. acts tough, JNU student leader charged with sedition”. It was reported that the President of JUNSU was arrested on the charges of sedition after allegedly raising anti-India slogans. The Commission issued notice to the Home Secretary, Govt. of India, Chief Secretary, NCT of Delhi, Commissioner of Police, Delhi and the Registrar, Jawaharlal Nehru University.

On 18th February, 2016, the Acting Chairperson, NHRC directed that a team comprising Sh. C. K. Chaturvedi, Registrar (Law) and Sh. S. K. Jain, SSP (Investigation) may visit Central Prison, Tihar and inquire into the following important issues pertaining to Sh. Kanhaiya Kumar :
I. To assess arrangements made and measures taken to ensure safety and security of Sh. Kanhaiya Kumar in the prison and to ascertain the apprehensions, if any, in the mind of Sh. Kanhaiya Kumar with regard to his safety and security.
II. To ascertain the treatment meted out to Sh. Kanhaiya Kumar by the police and prison authorities while in custody.
III. To ascertain whether the statement released to the press by the Commissioner of Police, Delhi in the name of Sh. Kanhaiya Kumar was made by Sh. Kanhaiya Kumar voluntarily and without any extraneous influence.

The NHRC team has submitted a report dated 19.02.2016 with the following findings:

i. The Central Prison, Tihar has made special arrangements to ensure safety and security of Sh. Kanhaiya Kumar inside the prison. He has been kept in an independent and separate cell. Dedicated security staff has been deployed to ensure his safety and security round the clock. Several security instructions have been issued by the prison authorities in this regard. He has no complaints against prison official.
ii. According to Sh. Kanhaiya Kumar, he was arrested without any valid reason and without disclosing to him even grounds of arrest. He had not committed any offences as now alleged. However, this aspect is under investigation by the police.
iii. Sh. Kanhaiya Kumar did not complain of any physical assault by the police while in custody. However, he was subjected to psychological pressure during interrogation.
iv. The statement which was issued by the police as an appeal on behalf of Sh. Kanhaiya Kumar was not written by him voluntarily. The content, construction and framework of the statement were as dictated by the police.
v. Sh. Kanhaiya Kumar was abused and physically assaulted by some persons dressed as advocates in the Patiala House court premises on 17.02.2016. He was even physically assaulted inside the adjoining court room in the presence of police who did not do anything to prevent the assault or apprehend the attackers even though they were identified by Sh. Kanhaiya Kumar then and there.
vi. The physical assault on Sh. Kumar in the court premises appears to be organized and pre- planned.
vii. What happened in the Patiala House Court Complex on 17.02.2016 was a major security lapse on the part of the police. There was serious dereliction of duty on the part of the police.
viii. Going by the sequence of events, the safety and security of Sh. Kanhaiya and his family members is a serious cause of concern.

A copy of the inquiry report submitted by the NHRC team has been forwarded to the Commisioner of Police, Delhi and the Director General of Prisons, Tihar Jail for their comments, to be received by the Commission, on or before 26.02.2016.