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India – Activists speak of police torture


Writer-activist Arun Ferreira speaks on torture in custody, with Vernon Gonsalves and Piyush Guha seated extreme right.Photo: Special Arrangement

Writer-activist Arun Ferreira speaks on torture in custody, with Vernon Gonsalves and Piyush Guha seated extreme right.Photo: Special Arrangement

Arun Ferreira releases Colours Of The Cage: A Prison Memoir

Three political activists, arrested on different days from different parts of the country and lodged in separate jails, narrated how they were all subjected to similar methods of torture by the police.

“The police took me to different parts of Mumbai after the arrest and threatened to bump me off,” said Vernon Gonsalves, a political activist who was arrested in 2007 from Mumbai and lodged in Nagpur jail.

Mr Gonsalves’ experience was curiously similar to that of Piyush Guhas, a small entrepreneur . “After I was picked up from Raipur (in Chhattisgarh), police asked me about my ‘last wishes’ indicating that I will be bumped off sooner than later,” said Mr Guha.

Acknowledging that he also was subjected to similar psychological torture, writer-activist Arun Ferreira gave graphic details of violence at multiple levels in police and judicial custody.

“The police pumped 20 millilitre of petrol in the rectum of one of the prisoners who kept discharging blood for two months, besides smelling of petrol when he belched,” said Mr Ferreira, who also was lodged in Nagpur prison. Mr Ferreira gave an account of Narco Analysis and Brain Mapping,” particularly on the Muslims who are arrested on terror related charges.

“During Narco Analysis tests, the accused who is drugged could be asked a particular question and his or her answer is recorded. Later, the question is replaced thus making it appear that the accused has named others as co-accused… this is a clear distortion of facts,” said Mr Ferreira. All activists were arrested for their alleged connection with the Communist Party of India (Maoist).

The Bengali translation of Mr Ferreira’s book, Colours Of The Cage: A Prison Memoir , based on his experience in the Nagpur jail was released by former Politbureau member of the CPI (Maoist) Narayan Sanyal.

The event also saw the release of the book Rights and the ‘Left’ — West Bengal 1977-2011 , based on the alleged rights violations committed by the Left Front in Bengal for 34 years.

The writer, journalist and human rights activist Nilanjan Dutta said that his book narrates the story of ‘a continuity’ between two different time zones in Bengal’s recent political history.

“Left Front and post-Left Front regime — is there any difference between the two?” asks Dutta and concludes: “I have tried to capture the story of human rights violation as a continuous process during a particular time frame.”

Dutta’s book has graphically narrated how the Left Front violated civil rights “to protect their government for three decades”, said Dhiraj Sengupta, the Secretary of Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR), who released the book.


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