Ten chilli farmers who were released on bail by a Telangana court on Thursday were handcuffed by police as they were being brought to the court.
These farmers were arrested for allegedly carrying out violent protests on April 28 at the Khammam Market Yard Office.
“Handcuffing is a human right violation. Handcuffing can be done only with the permission of the magistrate. It can be done only to ensure that the persons in custody do not harm themselves or other persons. It is for the safety of both the persons taken to custody and persons taking custody,” senior lawyer and human rights activist Sudha Ramalingam told The News Minute.
“In case of emergency, the magistrate has to be informed and a permission has to be sought. You cannot routinely handcuff anyone in India unlike the US or UK. The magistrate is also duty bound to take account of the person arrested,” she added.
As per India’s Code of Criminal Procedure, at the time of arrest the police officer “shall actually touch or confine the body of the person to be arrested.” The law observes that the officer may use “all means necessary” if the suspect resists. While it fails to mention the use of handcuffs, the CrPC says the suspect shall “not be subjected to more restraint than is necessary to prevent his escape.”
In a 1980 order, the Supreme Court had provided guidelines on when handcuffs are to be used, stating that they were to be used “if a person is involved in serious non-bailable offences, is a previous convict, a desperate character, violent, disorderly or obstructive or a person who is likely to commit suicide or who may attempt to escape.”
Reacting to this, CPI Leader Kankanala Narayana termed it as a “brutal attack” on innocent farmers.
“They are not dacoits, they are innocent farmers and they were demanding minimum supporting price (MSP) for their chilli. When you buy chillies at the market, it costs around Rs 340 per kg which means Rs 34,000 for a quintal while the government is only giving Rs 3000 for every quintal to the farmers.”
“It is the position of the government, the police is just an instrument. The Chief Minister is responsible for all this. He wanted the protests to die down, so he instructed the police to act accordingly,” Narayana said.
Chilli farmers in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have been protesting against the respective state governments demanding a raise in Minimum Support Price for their produce. In another protest, farmers burnt their produce in the Chennai-Kolkata Highway.