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14,231 Persons Died In police And Judicial Custody
In India From 2001 To 2010

By Suhas Chakma

21 November, 2011

The Asian Centre for Human Rights has the pleasure to share its latest
report, "Torture in India 2011" covering the incidents of torture in
India. It is available at:

"Torture in India" series have been instrumental for bringing national and
international spotlight on torture in India. However, due to the lack of
financial resources, "Torture in India 2011" is only available online,
thereby restricting our outreach to key target groups, not the least,
India's Members of Parliament who had earlier raised specific questions in
the parliament citing the report of the ACHR.

"Torture in India 2011" states that a total of 14,231 persons i.e. more
than four persons per day died in police and judicial custody in India
from 2001 to 2010. This includes 1,504 deaths in police custody and 12,727
deaths in judicial custody from 2001-2002 to 2009-2010 as per the cases
submitted to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

A large majority of these deaths are a direct consequence of torture in
custody. These deaths reflect only a fraction of the problem with torture
and custodial deaths in India as not all the cases of deaths in police and
prison custody are reported to the NHRC. Further, the NHRC does not have
jurisdiction over the armed forces and the NHRC also does not record
statistics of torture not resulting into death.

The failure of the Ministry of Home Affairs to introduce the Prevention
of Torture Bill drafted by the Rajya Sabha Select Committee headed by Shri
Ashwani Kumar, the current Minister of State for Planning, in December
2010 in the parliament session beginning on 22 November 2011 demonstrates
India's lack of political will to stamp out torture.

"India is yet to realize the cost of not having anti-torture law in
compliance with UN Convention Against Torture (UNCAT) that led to
rejection extradition of Kim Davy, the prime accused in the Purulia arms
drop case by the Danish High Court in June 2011; the direction of a
British Court in July 2011 to depute a human rights expert to visit the
prisons in Gujarat to examine the prison conditions before it grants
extradition of Mohammad Hanif Umerji Patel, alias Tiger Hanif, the alleged
mastermind of the 1993 bomb blast in Surat; and cancellation of the
extradition of Abul Salem by the Portuguese High Court in September 2011
on the ground that he was tortured in custody following extradition. That
torture is non-derogable even in war and a crime against humanity is yet
to be recognized by India." - stated Asian Centre for Human Rights in its
press release.


During 2001-2010, Maharashtra recorded the highest number of deaths in
police custody with 250 deaths; followed by Uttar Pradesh (174); Gujarat
(134); Andhra Pradesh (109); West Bengal (98); Tamil Nadu (95); Assam
(84); Karnataka (67); Punjab (57); Madhya Pradesh (55); Haryana (45);
Bihar (44); Kerala (42); Jharkhand (41); Rajasthan (38); Orissa (34);
Delhi (30); Chhattisgarh (24); Uttarakhand (20); Meghalaya (17); Arunachal
Pradesh (10); Tripura (8); Jammu and Kashmir (6); Himachal Pradesh (5);
Goa; Chandigarh and Pondicherry (3 each); Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland (2
each);  and Sikkim and Dadra and Nagar Haveli (1 each).

"About 99.99% of deaths in police custody can be ascribed to torture and
occur within 48 hours of the victims being taken into custody. Though
Maharashtra has a total population of 112 million in comparison to 199
million in Uttar Pradesh according to 2011 census, the fact that 76 more
persons were killed in police custody in Maharashtra shows that torture is
more rampant in police custody in Maharashtra than Uttar Pradesh." -
further asserted Mr Chakma.

Citing the case of Mohd Umar alias Badkau
( http://www.nhrc.nic.in/display.asp?fno=10570/24/9/2010-AD ), accused of
kidnapping and rape, who allegedly committed inside Haldi Police Station
in Bahraich district of Uttar Pradesh by hanging himself with a towel
inside the lock-up on 21 March 2010, Asian Centre for Human Rights stated
that the post mortem report found eight contusions on various parts and
ligature mark around the neck and indicated that the cause of death was
due to asphyxia as a result of ante mortem hanging. The magisterial
enquiry report opined that deceased died due to police torture and held
In-charge of the Police Station, Brij Kishore Yadav, Head Moherar Sanjay
Verma, Lock up Sentry, Constable Ishwardin Shukla and Co-prisoner Vijay
Shankar Pandey jointly responsible for this death. The Investigating
Officer of case S.K. Surya (Sub Inspector) and Constable Dev Baksh Singh
were also found responsible or tampering with the documents.


During 2001-2010, 12,727 deaths in judicial custody took place. Uttar
Pradesh recorded the highest number of deaths in judicial custody with
2171 deaths, followed by Bihar (1512); Maharashtra (1176); Andhra Pradesh
(1037); Tamil Nadu (744); Punjab (739); West Bengal (601); Jharkhand
(541); Madhya Pradesh (520); Karnataka (496); Rajasthan (491); Gujarat
(458); Haryana (431); Orissa (416); Kerala (402); Chhattisgarh (351);
Delhi (224); Assam (165); Uttarakhand (91); Himachal Pradesh (29); Tripura
(26); Meghalaya (24); Chandigarh (23); Goa (18); Arunachal Pradesh (9);
Pondicherry (8); Jammu and Kashmir and Nagaland (6 each); Mizoram (4);
Sikkim and Andaman and Nicober Island (3 each); and Manipur and Dadra and
Nagar Haveli (1 each).

A large of number of these deaths are a result of torture, denial of
medical facilities and sub-human conditions in Indian jails.


ACHR stated that the number of deaths in police custody recorded from
conflict afflicted states like Jammu and Kashmir and Manipur do not
reflect the gravity of the situation. The NHRC registered only six deaths
in police custody in Jammu and Kashmir from 2001-02 to 2010-11, while only
two cases of deaths in police custody were recorded from Manipur during
the same period. This is despite the fact that on 31 March 2011 Jammu and
Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah in a written reply before the
Legislative Council stated that 341 persons had died in police custody in
the state since 1990.


ACHR stated that custodial rape remains one of the worst forms of torture
perpetrated on women by law enforcement personnel and a number of
custodial rape of women takes place at regular intervals.  The NHRC
recorded 39 cases of rape from judicial and police custody from 2006 to 28
February 2010.

Citing the case of Maloti Kalandi
( http://www.nhrc.nic.in/display.asp?fno=169/3/0/2010-PCR ), wife of Badal
Kalandi who along with
children were rescued from being trafficked, were handed over to the
Tamulpur police station, Baksa district of Assam for safe custody. Instead
of providing safety, Sub-Inspector Sahidur Rahman summoned the victim to
his official quarter and raped her. The accused has since been suspended
and is being tried before the Courts. The NHRC awarded interim
compensation of Rs 100,000/- to the victim.


Asian Centre for Human Rights stated that the Maoists remain the worst
violators of human rights including torture and they have been responsible
for brutal killing of their hostages after abduction. Often the hostages
were killed by slitting their throats or beheading. The suspects were
tried and handed over death sentences or subjected to torture through the
socalled "Jan Adalats" (Peoples' Courts) in full public view to instill
fear among the people.

On the night of 25 March 2010, Maoists slit the throat of Chhotu Manjhi
after kidnapping him from Gamahariatard village under Pirtard police
station in Giridih district of Jharkhand. He was taken to a forest where
he was killed in the presence of villagers after Jan Adalat found him
guilty of passing information to the police.


Asian Centre for Human Rights called upon the Government of India to enact
the Prevention of Torture Bill, 2010 as drafted by the Parliamentary
Select Committee without any dilution into a law. ACHR also recommended
the NHRC to recommend prosecution of the guilty public officials in all
the cases in which compensation is recommended.

Suhas Chakma is Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights



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