NEW DELHI: As many as 1,184 people were killed in police custody in India in the last eight years with Maharashtra topping the chart with 192 deaths, a report said on Thursday.
The report — Torture in India 2009 — by the Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) released in New Delhi on Thursday stated that most of the victims were killed as a result of torture within the first 48 hours after being taken into custody.
The report is based on the data collected from April 1, 2001, to March 31, 2009, through a right to information (RTI) plea, filed with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
“These deaths in custody do not, however, represent the actual number of deaths in police custody in India. Deaths in the custody of the armed forces and the Army under the control of the central government are not reported to the NHRC,” ACHR director Suhas Chakma said.
He said the NHRC does not have jurisdiction to investigate violations committed by the armed forces under Section 19 of the Human Rights Protection Act, 1993 and guidelines on reporting custodial deaths within 24 hours continue to be flouted.
According to the report, the highest number of 192 custodial deaths were reported in Maharashtra followed by Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh where 128 and 85 people died in police custody respectively.
The report stated that high number of deaths in custody exposes the abject failure of the 1996 judgment of the Supreme Court in the DK Basu case that provides the procedures to be followed while making arrests.
“The Prevention of Torture Bill, 2008, being brought by the government of India is a sham. The bill contains only three operative paragraphs relating to definition of torture, punishment for torture and limitations for cognizance of offences,” Chakma said.