On the evening of 24 August, Palakkad North Division police turned up at the house of two brothers, Abdurrahman (18) and Bilal (20), to question them in connection with a physical assault attempt on an RSS worker. Soon, they were taken into custody and tortured. “They were unaware of this assault incident and continuously asserted their innocence to the police”, said their lawyer Advocate Mohammad Rashid.
One week after his arrest, Abdurrahman was still in the hospital suffering from serious injuries on his genitals, thighs, chest, and legs, while Bilal is still in judicial custody in an equally wretched condition, additionally facing criminal prosecution under IPC Sec. 308 (culpable homicide), 341, 324 and others.
Adv. Rashid narrates, “When sub-inspector Sudheesh Kumar’s team of nine officers barged into the house, not a single male family member was present. Their younger sister attempted to call her father, but the police threatened that they would pick her up too. They took the boys away without any intimation to the family members. When his family eventually came to know, they called up the police station, but the police denied keeping the youths in their custody.”
He continued to describe how the violence escalated. “Then, two police officers sat on their chests while the others used a cigarette lighter to burn their genitals. They even sprayed their private parts with pepper spray,” he said.
Equally condemnable was the motive behind torturing them, especially harming their genitals. SI Sudheesh Kumar revealed it himself. “Now, you will not be able to give birth to any more Muslims”, he is reported to have said while in the act.
Reny Ayline, National Secretary of the National Confederation of Human Rights Organisation (NCHRO), who is himself a Palakkad native. “Neither of the two boys have any criminal history. It’s not as if they were on the run. This kind of secretive detention post-sundown, followed by a denial of information to their family about their whereabouts, and then torturing them brutally in custody, reeks of an insidious attitude.”