India is a signatory to the Convention against Torture and yet a Bollywood movie is glorifying police brutality and inhuman treatment, reports William Gomes in Salem News.
(YORK, UK) – As activists labour against long odds to expose the government of India for routine torture, we learn that Bollywood could teach Hollywood a lesson on immorality.
Tinsel town has a bad reputation, but the casting of one of India’s most well known actors as a policeman who uses torture and encourages other law enforcement officers to do the same, is reprehensible.
As William Gomes points out in his letter to National Human Rights Commission members in New Delhi, the new Bollywood action film “Dabangg 2”, directed and produced by Arbaaz Khan under the banner of Arbaaz Khan Productions, sets a society fighting for positive change, back several steps.
The fact that India has signed the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) while tortures continues unabated as a regular practice, should be a guiding light as to what this government should expect from those who wear a badge.
“Dabangg 2” causes significant damage by destroying credibility and public faith in the rule of law and in the criminal justice system of the People’s Republic of India by encouraging torture and ill-treatment.
24 December 2012
National Human Rights Commission
Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg
New Delhi 110001
Fax: + 91 11 2338 4863
Re: Please ask director and producer of “Dabangg 2” to remove the sequence which promotes practice of torture and ill treatment
I am William Nicholas Gomes, a visiting fellow at Centre for Applied Human Rights in University of York, UK.
For years I have been working on prevention of torture and ill-treatment. I have closely monitored the human rights situations specifically the endemic practise of torture and ill-treatment by the law enforcement agencies in India. I am writing to express deep concern regarding “Dabangg 2”, a 2012 Bollywood action film directed and produced by Arbaaz Khan under the banner of Arbaaz Khan Productions.
In “Dabangg 2”, Salman Khan, one of the greatest and most influential actors in the history of Indian cinema, has played the role of a police officer under the name of “Chul Bul Pandee”.
In this film Salman Khan alias “Chul Bul Pandee” portrays the role of a police officer who encourages the practice of torture and degrading ill treatment towards the detainees in custody and also encourages fellow police officers to engage in such heinous activities.
In India, torture is practised as a routine and accepted as a means of investigation. Torture is not criminalised in law as a separate or special offence. Even an act of torture, duly proved, does not require the perpetrator to pay compensation to the victim. More than that, the “right against torture” is not a fundamental right and also there is no specific law concerning witness protection in India.
In India most police officers and other law enforcement officers consider torture an essential investigative tool, rather than an unscientific and crude method of investigation.
Now one of the greatest and most influential actors in the history of Indian cinema, Salman Khan, plays the role of a police officer who encourages the practisc of police torture.
I believe this will encourage people to lose faith in the rule of law and and the criminal justice system. It will raise wider public support in favour of torture and ill treatment in custody.
Dear Chairperson, I want to remind you, the UN Human Rights Committee as early as 1997 has expressed its concern about the widespread use of torture by the law enforcement agencies in India (CCPR/C/79/Add.81). Similar concerns were expressed by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD/C/IND/CO/19) in 2007 and the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (E/C.12/IND/CO/5) in 2008.
I also want to draw your attention to other cases concerning law-enforcement agencies: Prakash Singh v Union of India(2006), Naga People’s Movement of Human Rights Vs. Union of India(1997), Shri D K Basu v State of West Bengal(1996), PUCL v Union of India (1996), Sheela Barse v State of Maharastra (1987), Francis Coralie Mullin v Administrator (1981), Raghbir Singh v State of Haryana (1980), Sunil Batra v Delhi Administration (1979), Sunil Batra v Delhi Administration (1978), Nandini Satpathy v Dani (P.L.)(1978), Charles Sobhraj v The Superintendent (1978) and K Karunakaran v T V Eachara Warrier (1977).
I will request you to ask the director and producer of “Dabangg 2”, Mr. Arbaaz Khan to remove the sequence where Mr Salman Khan has encouraged the practisc of torture and ill treatment in police custody and take proper measures in the future to make sure not to use the powerful media to encourage torture and ill treatment by the law enforcement agencies.
I want to draw your kind attention to the fact that India has signed the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT).
The film “Dabangg 2” has caused significant damage by destroying all credibility and public faith in the rule of law and in the criminal justice system of the People’s Republic of India by encouraging torture and ill-treatment.
I look forward to your positive and adequate action in this matter.
William Nicholas Gomes
Centre for Applied Human Rights
Law and Management Building,
University of York, Freboys Lane,
York, YO10 5GD, UK