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After Burari deaths, forensic lab gets a psychology unit

The creation of the forensic psychology division was flagged by the Delhi government in a letter to Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik on October 1.

Written by Sourav Roy Barman | New Delhi |
October 26, 2018 1:35:47 am
After Burari deaths, forensic lab gets a psychology unit The suicide of 11 members of a family in Burari in July prompted the move (Photo: Gajendra Yadav)

The suicide of 11 members of a family in Burari in July has prompted the Delhi Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) to constitute a forensic psychology division.

The creation of the forensic psychology division was flagged by the Delhi government in a letter to Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik on October 1. Officials said that when the Burari case shook the city, police had to seek assistance of the Central FSL.

The Delhi FSL, under the city’s Home Department, is also being armed with newer facilities to handle cases pertaining to women and children better, with more than 1,000 advanced kits for safe collection of viscera and other samples from crime spots.

The kits, a home department official said, will have advanced airtight containers as well as basic tools such as forceps and nailcutters, to ensure careful lifting of samples so that scientists don’t face trouble extracting DNA, which in many cases is essential in nabbing criminals.

“Around 1,000 investigating officers, apart from the FSL teams, will be given the kits in the first phase. Right now, samples are handled very casually. For example, if the swabs are not dry, they get infected. It hinders the process of extracting DNA, leading to over week-long delays,” the official said.

“The kits will not only keep the samples dry, but it will be possible to preserve the samples for around two years. The DNA extractions will be very sharp,” the official said, adding that samples of the kits have been supplied by various companies, but one specific model will be chosen through tendering.

As of August, there were over 4,600 cases pending with the Rohini-based FSL, which has eight major divisions, including Biology, Computer Forensic, Chemistry, Ballistics and Physics. The government has already initiated a process to open a separate unit in the facility to deal with POCSO cases.

Meanwhile, Principal Secretary (Home) Manoj Parida wrote to Patnaik: “I am happy to inform that Delhi FSL is now in a position to offer services of forensic psychologists to deal with such cases related to offences against women and children. You may inform the district DCPs.”

The newly formed unit comprises four persons, including two scientists, the home official said, adding that Lt Governor Anil Baijal has called for a comprehensive study to establish the “growing trend of bizarre and heinous crimes”. Parida’s letter also mentions that the L-G has emphasised on the requirement of forensic psychologists in such cases.

“…the services of psychologists should be taken to ensure that the trauma that had already occurred to the women and child in sexual assault cases is not compounded,” the letter adds.

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