1,184 deaths in custody in 8 yrs: rights panel report | delhi | Hindustan Times
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1,184 deaths in custody in 8 yrs: rights panel report

As many as 1,184 people died in police custody in India during 2001-09, a human rights body has said. Most of the victims died after being tortured within the first two days of being taken into custody, reports Satya Prakash.

delhi Updated: Jul 06, 2009 00:45 IST
Satya Prakash

As many as 1,184 people died in police custody in India during 2001-09, a human rights body has said. Most of the victims died after being tortured within the first two days of being taken into custody.

This has been stated in a report, ‘Torture in India 2009’, prepared by the Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR).

According to the report based on National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) records from April 2001 to March 2009, Maharashtra has earned the dubious distinction of topping the list with about 192 deaths in police custody. It is followed by Uttar Pradesh (128), Gujarat (113), Andhra Pradesh (85) and West Bengal (83).

“The high number of deaths in police custody exposes the abject failure of the 1996 directive of the Supreme Court in the D.K. Basu judgment that provides for procedures to be followed while making arrests,” ACHR director Suhas Chakma said.

Pointing out that the DK Basu guidelines applied only in cases of arrest and not to cases where a person had been summoned but not arrested, Chakma demanded that the scope of these guidelines be widened.

He however said, “These deaths in custody do not represent the actual number of deaths in police custody in India as in several cases the NHRC is not informed by the police. Further, deaths in the custody of the armed forces are not reported to the NHRC as it does not have the jurisdiction to investigate violations committed by the armed forces.” He also alleged that NHRC regularly failed to recognise torture despite clear medical evidence.

Torture was being used as a tool to extract confessions and money, the report said.