From electric shocks to merciless beating, 23-year old Ram Lal of Mirzapur was subjected to continuous torture for days on end, for a robbery which he never committed. Ram Lal was picked up on the basis of an unverified complaint and subjected to such inhuman treatment that even years after, his body still bears the marks of torture. Fear has become part of his personality. The torture has traumatized him to such an extent that today, he hardly dares to move out of his house.
Ram Lal’s family comprises a wife and two sons. On 28 May 2009, Ram Lal was at his in-law's place at Bahararanganj village, which is under the jurisdiction of Chunar Police Station in the same district, for the marriage of his brother-in-law. He recalls, "The next day at about 10pm, while coming back from the market, a constable and a Sub-Inspector from Chunar Police Station stopped us and started interrogating me. Later they took me to the house of one Ramji, Ramdhani, Neeraj and Mukesh Patel, who had filed a complaint of robbery against me."
From their house, he was brought back to his house. The team of police entered his house and looted it, taking away some jewellery and 7000 rupees in cash. From there, he was next taken to the local police station and locked up in a cell in total darkness. He was just given a chapati to eat. From there, he was later taken to the quarters of a Sub-Inspector called Sudarshan, and from there to an isolated factory in Dagmagpur. There, the police threatened him, commanding him to accept and confess his role in the dacoity, or they would shoot him in an "encounter".
The policemen forced him to consume liquor. He recalls, "After I was drunk, they begun interrogation again and resumed beating me. Later on, police also raided the houses of my neighbor and took 12 others into custody. On 30th of May, my interrogation resumed at the Chunar Police Station. A cop crushed my finger under a chair, and sat on it. The pain was unbearable. I cried out but my pleas fell on deaf ears. All along, I was being asked about the looted items. When I denied my involvement, more policemen joined in and started thrashing me. Later on, I was thrown in the lockup without food or water. Interrogation resumed at night and after that, I was again denied food and thrown back in the lockup."
"My ordeal did not end there; morning brought more horrors. The cops got me seated on a slab surrounded by electric wires, and then the nightmare begun. Current was passed through my body once, twice. I thought 'I am going to die.' At that time my brother Om Prakash came. I could just murmur for a glass of water. Even that was denied. My brother was chased away and electric shocks were resumed."
"I fainted and when I regained my senses, i found myself in a bed at the Mirzapur district hospital. Imagine, I had been there unconscious for five days. My life was saved by the timely intervention of the local media and people. Even the local MLA helped us out. I also came to know that I was tortured more because the police wanted my family to shelve out 13 thousand rupees to get me freed."
"Though I was freed by police and got medical assistance, first at a clinic in Chunar and then at the Mirzapur hospital, I am still not totally fit. Pain resurfaces, my fingers are still swollen..and more than that, a strange fear has settled over me - a fear of khaki and abuse. I know it is tough to get those people punished who almost killed me and ruined my life and reputation. I hope my story and testimony will help save others from meeting my fate. Some mechanism should be put in place to punish policemen who indulge in corrupt practices and subject innocent people like me to inhuman torture and extortion.
The testimony written in english by the alternate media fellow Mr. Ashish Awasthi under the RCT -PVCHR joint collaborative project "Promoting psycho –legal framework to reduce torture and organized violence in India"