(Amrit Pal Singh ‘Amrit’)
Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment ((an advisory measure of the UN General Assembly) (A/RES/39/46, December 10, 1984,Meeting no. 93) explained the term ‘Torture’ in its Article 1 of Part 1 in these words: –
… the term “torture” means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.
However, the acts of torture are not committed by government agencies only. Terrorists, gang-members, hate-preachers and many rebels often do not take into account international laws and use different methods of tortures.
Methods for physical torture can range from thrashing to the use of specially designed tools. To cause mental pain, psychological torture techniques are used. When a victim is paraded in full public view with blackened face etc, it is a kind of physical as well as psychological torture. The outcome of psychological torture techniques could not be visible instantly. These methods break the victim from inside.
A list of methods and devices of psychological as well as physical torture has been published in wikipedia.org website.
Bhai Mati Das, a devote Sikh of the ninth Guru, Sri Guru Tegh Bahadur Ji, was sawed in two in November, 1675, in Chandani Chowk, Delhi.
Any information taken out by torture is not to be relied on, because torture victim would say anything to get away the situation. To escape pain, a victim could plead guilty and involve any other person. The implicated person would be torture in sequence.
The Article 5 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights says: –
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
In the face of many national and international laws, torture still takes place in countries all over the world. In its place, number of torture cases is increasing rapidly.