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Punjab police under Human Rights scanner

Pankaj Dhiman | Chandigarh |

When it comes to violation of human rights, nearly 55 per cent of complaints in the state are against the Punjab Police which describes itself as 'a force with a difference, conviction and heart'.

As per the data, 54.98 per cent of total complaints received by the Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) since its inception in 1997 are against the Punjab Police.

“Most cases received pertain to police excesses and their failure to take action. But when the PSHRC recommends action, the complaints are probed by the police and returned with the report  that these were found baseless,” said a PSHRC official on the condition of anonymity.

Till 31 January, 2017, the PSHRC has received 2,46,860 complaints of human rights violations. Of these, the Punjab Police alone accounted for 1,35,742 cases. It was followed by 8,506 cases of crime against women (3.44 per cent). The jail department accounts for 49,49 complaints till January 31.

The year-wise summary of cases instituted by the PSHRC reveals that from 90 cases registered in 1997, the annual number of cases has crossed 15,523 in 2014, 15,986 in 2015 and 11,162 in 2016. In 2017, 442 cases against the police have already been received.

In addition to the human rights violation charges pending. The number of cases is almost the same during the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal and Bharatiya Janta Party (SAD-BJP) regime in the state with PSHRC recommending action against 200 policemen.

During the SAD rule from 1997 to 2002, 11,974 cases against the police were received, the number swelled to 44,180 cases during the Congress regime  till 2007. The SAD-BJP government was not behind with 79,532 cases in the 2007-2017 regime. The Commission remained 'virtually' non-functional due to the non-appointment of its chairman and other members for more than six months. Now, it is hearing 200 plus cases every day before the court of acting chairperson Justice Ashutosh Mohanta. In the last month itself, the Commission has disposed of 1,670 cases.