Video: In India, a Son’s Last Words: “These Policemen Will Kill Me”

Police in India often bypass arrest procedures and torture suspects in custody to death. At least 591 people died in police custody in India between 2010 and 2015, according to official data. One of these people, was Agnelo Valdaris, who died in police custody in 2014. Instead of holding police responsible to account, authorities have stalled reforms needed to build a more rights-respecting force.

Transcript

Transcript

Leonard Valdaris
Father

The last time I saw my son Agnelo was on 17th of April 2014. He was crying bitterly, he was telling me, “Daddy, save me, save me. They have been beating me whole night. They will kill me daddy, these policemen will kill me.”

I am Leonard Valdaris. My son Agnelo died in police custody on the 18th of April 2014 in Mumbai.

Text on screen
The police took Agnelo for questioning in connection with a robbery.

Leonard Valdaris
Father

When these policemen came in search of my son, I actually fully trusted them. Just for an inquiry they have come, that’s all I thought. But it turned out to be something else. Indian law says within 24 hours; policemen have to produce the accused in a court of law. They didn’t do that. They produced the other two accused in the court. When I met them, they told me, “You go to the lock-up, your son’s life is in danger.”

Text on screen
By that point the police had brought Agnelo to the hospital.           

Leonard Valdaris
Father

When I saw my son in the hospital, there everything changed. There I saw the reality. He was beaten black and blue. And he told me, “Whole night they beat me with the belt, daddy. They were forcing me to confess to the crime.” After that I didn’t see him. I saw his dead body very next day.

Text on screen
The post-mortem report says Agnelo died from multiple injuries. Some occurred during his first hours at the police station.

Leonard Valdaris
Father

The police says my son Agnelo he tried to flee while they were crossing the railway track, when they were about to take him to the court, and he was hit by an oncoming train. But I don’t believe it all. In India, so many custodial deaths have taken place. But I said no, I will fight it out. This type of crime should not be repeated again and again.

Text on screen
India has laws designed to protect people in police custody.

But police often disregard the law.

Between 2010 and 2015 at least 591 people died in police custody in India.

Accountability for police is extremely rare.

In Agnelo’s case charges have been filed against eight police officers.

Leonard Valdaris
Father

Agnelo was not only my son, he was almost everything, he was my best friend. I feel that I lost everything in my life.

 

Region / Country