Jul. 10, 2020

WCC condemns violence in India - and calls for justice

Photo: Albin Hillert/WCC

10 July 2020

The death of a father and son in police custody last week in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu has caused outrage and protest in the state. Family members and friends of the victims have accused the police of subjecting them to torture while they were in custody.

Before admitting them to a hospital, the police were granted a further extension of custody of the two by a magistrate for further interrogation, as if they were arrested for treason. The WCC joins the call of The National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) has condemned the incident. The NCCI has demanded justice for Jayaraj and Beniks and an end to the increasing trend of police brutality.

In India, this incident has drawn similarities to the murder of George Floyd in the US at the hands of police officers. According to Amnesty International, there is severe lack of accountability for police actions in India. It said, "According to the 2018 National Crimes Record Bureau data, Tamil Nadu accounted for the second highest deaths in custody. But not a single police personnel was arrested."

In a press release issued by the National Council of Churches in India, its general secretary Rev. Asir Ebenezer said, “police brutality in India especially against religious and ethnic minorities, children, women and the marginalized is increasing day by day and it also speaks poorly about the bias towards these communities.”

India, though a signatory, it is yet to ratify the UN Convention Against Torture. This also adds to the impunity the police enjoy in India.

Expressing his sadness and disappointment, the interim general secretary of the World Council of Churches, Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca, said, “We condemn these senseless acts of violence. Let us strengthen our resolution to pursue peace and justice for all, dignity for all, the freedom to lead full lives for all. We join the call by the National Council of Churches in India .”