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Amnesty India demands probe into activist Arun Ferreira's claim he was beaten in custody

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Thursday demanded an impartial probe after activist Ferreira's claimed he was beaten by a police in custody, and asserted the alleged ill-treatment shows how is becoming a "dangerous place" for human rights defenders.

Ferreira, who was arrested in August for alleged Maoist links along with four other prominent activists, told a on Tuesday he was "hit" by the investigating

He said he was "hit" on his face "eight to ten times" by of Police (ACP) Shivaji Pawar on November 4 during interrogation.

Asmita Basu, at India, said Ferreira's submission is alarming and this raises serious questions about the government's treatment of human rights defenders.

"The authorities must conduct a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation into his allegations."

claimed Ferreira's spoke to them.

The Amnesty statement said Patil told them that Ferreira was admitted to a local hospital soon after the incident and his injuries were recorded in the medical report. "The report has been submitted to the court. is recovering and his family met him in jail yesterday."

said in a series of brutal crackdowns on human rights defenders, police on June 6 arrested activists Surendra Gadling, Rona Wilson, Sudhir Dhawale, Shoma Sen, and

On August 28, police arrested activists Sudha Bharadwaj, Gautam Navlakha, Vernon Gonsalves, Ferreira, and from across the country and raided the homes of several others.

Authorities have alleged that the 10 human rights defenders and activists had incited Dalits at a public rally on December 31, 2017, leading to violent clashes the next day in which one person died and several were injured.

Hundreds of Dalits had gathered in Bhima Koregaon village in Maharashtra on January 1 to commemorate a 200-year-old battle in which Dalit soldiers of the defeated the ruling Peshwas.

"Reports of Ferreira being beaten in custody are a reminder of how India is fast becoming a dangerous place for those demanding accountability from the state. Amnesty India believes that arrests in relation to the Bhima Koregaon incident, are politically motivated and are aimed at chilling peaceful dissent.

"The seems to have failed in its obligation to protect human rights defenders, and the freedom of expression and assembly," said Basu.

The body said ill-treatment and torture in police custody are widespread in India, but are rarely punished.

While torture is not recognised as a distinct crime under the Indian law, the has ruled that torture and other ill-treatment violates constitutionally guaranteed rights to life and personal liberty, it added.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, November 08 2018. 19:15 IST