BOOK REVIEW 105
detained on false charges and punished. All the armed opposition groups of some regions which are seeking either independence or increased autonomy are also subjected to torture. In some areas, particularly in Uttar Pradesh, the minorities were targets of extra-judicial executions by the PAC.
The guilty policemen escape prosecution either by denying the detection or by refusing to register complaints against themselves about the death, from the relatives of the victims. Information about the death is suppressed very often. Relatives who dare to depose before judicial enquiry commissions to state the facts or go to court seeking justice are threatened. The facts about the cause of the death are falsified. Sometimes doctors are threatened or persuaded to give a false post-mortem report. Therefore it is not surprising at all that criminal charges are filed in only 52 cases, of which in only 25 cases police officers were arrested.
The successive governments have not taken proper steps to bring to book guilty police men. Investigations were ordered only in a few instances, that too under public pressure. However these investigations were not used as a means to eliminate custodial violence. Usually a guilty police officer is suspended in response to public protest only to be reinstated in a higher positions afterwards.
The report therefore rightly stated that the 'main reason why torture continues to be practiced on such a wide scale throughout India is that police feel themselves to be immune.' At the end, the report suggested some measures to prevent human rights violations.
Since the report covers so many dimensions it received wide publicity and the government too had to respond immediately. As usual the government denied the custodial violence. The report is based on authentic information, hence the government could not deny it easily. Therefore it was forced to consider the formation of a Human Rights Commission to improve its image with in the country and abroad.
The report incontrovcrtibly establishes government complicity in custodial violence. But the pertinent question is, why doesn't the government take measures to eliminate custodial violence? The basic reason is that a large number of political agitations seeking redressal of grievances are treated as problems of law and order and suppressed. These movements can in fact be tackled cither through a vigorous political campaign or through responsive governmental action. One can only infer from this attitude of the police and government that the police works as an armed wing of the party in power. Police methods also emanate from this situation. Police in India maintain law and order either by displaying force or by instilling terror through violence.
M. KODANDA RAMA REDDY Department of Political Sciences Osmania University College, Hyderabad