In lockup hierarchy, treason charge is graver than that of rape or murder
GN Bureau | February 17, 2016
Given the charged atmosphere over JNU protests, the Delhi police will have quite a task – of ensuring safety of the arrested JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar - at hands for the next 14 days.
Kumar, who is booked under the draconian sedition law which was originally framed to quell protests against the British raj, has to remain in judicial custody for two weeks. The court asked the police if it can ensure his safety.
Kanhaiya’s safety remains a big question given the brazen attack on him by a lawyer outside Delhi’s Patiala House court premises, where he was produced on Wednesday. The attack happened in presence of police.
People who are privy to the lockup culture say that the perception about Kanhaiya being accused of “treason” may put him into a precarious situation.
A journalist who had spent six months in Tihar jail as an undertrial says, “In the community of offenders or perceived offenders, those accused of treason and sedition are seen as the worst and they face beatings from the other criminals or the accused.”
The journalist was beaten black and blue as soon as he was put in the lockup and later in the jail as an undertrial. He was also made to clean up the toilet with his shirt and later asked to wear the same – without washing – for many days.
“Those accused of rape and murder are not treated as harshly as the ‘deshdrohi’,” he recalls. The police guards – at the lockup or jail – give their tacit consent for unleashing brutality on the fellow accused.
Given the fact that Kanhaiya was beaten up in broad daylight and that we are living in surcharged environs where ‘deshbhakti’ seems to be the monopoly of hooligans, Delhi police chief BS Bassi will have to work hard and intelligently to keep the student leader safe in police custody.
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