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Licensed to beat, abuse and kill – By M.P. Nathanael

On April 16, Mohammed Rizwan, 19, a resident of Chhajjapur village, Uttar Pradesh, ventured out of his home to buy biscuits. He was beaten with rifle butts and lathis by the police, while other residents purchased their groceries from the shop. In a battered condition, he managed to reach home. After some home remedies did not work, he was admitted to the local hospital where he died in the wee hours of April 18.

There was nothing unusual in this incident or similar acts of brutality committed by the police as migrant workers, taking an arduous inter-State journey, attempted to return to their respective villages. In several places, elderly people were ruthlessly beaten.

Taking a serious view of police brutality, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative in March issued a set of guidelines for police, in no uncertain terms prohibiting them from using force on persons violating the lockdown regulations.

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