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SHRC notice to police on Tiphagne arrest

By K.T. Sangameswaran

CHENNAI, OCT. 13. The State Human Rights Commission has ordered notice to the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Villupuram range, asking him to file his reply on the October 11 arrest of 16 persons, including a civil rights activist, at Cuddalore.

The Chairperson-in-charge, Justice S. Thangaraj, issued the order yesterday, taking suo motu cognisance of a report in The Hindu on the arrest. (The arrested persons were later released.) Two-weeks time has been given to the police to submit their response.

Henry Tiphagne, a member of the advisory committee of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), and others were arrested for allegedly obstructing a computer training programme being conducted by the police to train women personnel.

According to Mr. Tiphagne, the police occupied the Town Hall, which was already booked for a meeting organised by the Campaign against Torture. To prevent him from addressing the meeting, they pressured the hall authorities to cancel the booking for the organisation's meeting and occupied the venue.

When Mr. Tiphagne demanded production of the ``custody memo,'' the police dragged him and the others into a van and they were later taken to the New Town police station.

They were charged for offences under the Indian Penal Code and the Criminal Law Amendment Act for trying to forcibly enter the hall, picking up a quarrel with the police and obstructing their work.

The NHRC has also asked for a report from the Tamil Nadu Director-General of Police within two weeks.

The national rights body acted on a complaint from one Devasahayam, who alleged that the police did not follow the guidelines, laid down by the Supreme Court in the D.K. Basu case, in arresting the rights activist and the others.

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