Home English News “Government also must be blamed for custodial deaths” – Ramasamy

“Government also must be blamed for custodial deaths” – Ramasamy

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COMMENT BY YB PROF DR P.RAMASAMY, DEPUTY CHIEF MINISTER II, PENANG

It is not the police alone, but the government must be blamed for custodial deaths. Yes, the old and outdated crime busting methods, the belief that persons detained were by definition criminals, that members of the working are more to engage in crime and the myth that working class Indians have propensity for crime could explain why there are so many deaths in custody particularly Indians.

One would expect with education and training, the police force will do away of unprofessional methods in the extraction of information pertaining to those behind crimes.
But it is really unfortunate and tragic that the rough and extreme physical methods in extracting information from the detainees have led to so many deaths in custody.

To date, no policemen involved in the investigation and extraction of information have been charged for causing the deaths of the detainees.

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The unfortunate and tragic deaths of Ganapathy and Sivabalan in the same Gombak police station within a matter of less than month raises questions about whether the police are really have the ability, education and training to engage in professional investigation.

At the end of the day, the police in order to produce quick results and to close criminal cases take the easy way out, in other words, the application of maximum physical pressure to obtain information whether those in custody are innocent or not.

Since there does not exists a body to investigate police misconduct, there is strong belief that the police are untouchable, beyond prosecution. It is this strange sense of impunity that allows the police, not all of them, but some sections to continue their inhuman ways.
The arrival of a new of police national chief, the transfer of district police chiefs and other measures occasionally undertaken hardly impact on improving the police force professionally.

In fact, internal changes within the police force reinforce rather than bring about positive changes.

As I have said, earlier, the unfortunate custodial deaths of Ganapathy and Sivabalan in the Gombak police station are not the first and definitely not going to be the last.
Unless of course, a major responsibility is imposed on the police force, custodial deaths are not going away.

I don’t expect the police force to improve their performance overnight, there will be crimes in the country, some unfortunate persons are going to be arrested and detained for investigation.

Surely, there is good possibility that we might hear of more cases of custodial deaths involving members of the working class.  Once the detainees have met their unfortunate end, the dead will have no tales to tell.

To some extent, the police should be blamed for the custodial deaths. Only a thorough and impartial investigation will reveal as to who were responsible for the deaths of those in custody.

The government of the day, has bigger responsibility in ensuring that deaths in custody are brought to an end.

But however, a government that exists on the basis of extremism in race and religion, is hardly to be expected to give priority to human rights issues in the country.

The matrix of race and religion is too toxic to provide an avenue for discussion and measures to be taken to curb deaths in custody and the other very familiar periodic episodes of shootings of alleged criminals.

With so much opposition to the idea of an Independent Police Misconduct Commission (IPMC), the government seems to be caught in a paralysis.

It is not prepared to implement this much talked about mechanism simply because of the opposition from the police.

The question is: who is going to be next victim of custodial death?