Police often torture suspects to death in custody: HRW

At least 591 people died in police custody in India between 2010 and 2015, according to official data

GN Bureau | December 19, 2016


#HRW   #human rights   #police   #human rights watch   #police custody  



Police in India often bypass arrest procedures and torture suspects in custody to death, Human Rights Watch said in a report released on Monday. At least 591 people died in police custody in India between 2010 and 2015, according to official data. Instead of holding police responsible to account, authorities have stalled reforms needed to build a more rights-respecting force.

The 114-page report, “‘Bound by Brotherhood’: India’s Failure to End Killings in Police Custody,” examines police disregard for arrest regulations, custodial deaths from torture, and impunity for those responsible. It draws on in-depth investigations into 17 deaths in custody that occurred between 2009 and 2015, including more than 70 interviews with victims’ family members, witnesses, justice experts, and police officials. In each of the 17 cases, the police did not follow proper arrest procedures, making the suspect more vulnerable to abuse.

“Police in India will learn that beating suspects to confess is unacceptable only after officers are prosecuted for torture,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director. “Our research shows that too often, the police officers investigating deaths in custody are more concerned about shielding their colleagues than bringing those responsible to justice.”

While Indian police typically blame deaths in custody on suicide, illness, or natural causes, family members of victims frequently allege that the deaths were the result of torture or other ill-treatment, said a press release.

Indian law and the supreme court have laid down procedures for law enforcement that deal with various aspects of police work, including registering cases, the treatment of arrested persons, and conducting questioning. However, without proper training, oversight, or resources to gather evidence, police mistreat criminal suspects in police stations to obtain information or confessions. Forms of torture include severe beatings with boots and belts, sometimes suspending people from their wrists. Autopsy reports examined by Human Rights Watch show injuries and hematomas consistent with blunt force trauma. 

The rules require suspects to be medically examined after arrest, with the doctor listing any pre-existing injuries – any new injuries will point to police abuse in custody. By law, every person taken into custody must be produced before a magistrate within 24 hours.
Bypassing these procedures facilitates abuses in custody.

According to government data, in 67 of 97 deaths in custody in 2015, the police either failed to produce the suspect before a magistrate within 24 hours or the suspect died within 24 hours of being arrested. A magistrate in Tamil Nadu state told Human Rights Watch, “Police has their own code of police procedure. They don’t follow the Code of Criminal Procedure”, said the press release.

To ensure accountability for police abuses, Indian law requires a judicial magistrate to conduct an inquiry into every death in police custody. The police are expected to register a First Information Report, and the death is expected to be investigated by a police station or agency other than the one implicated. Every case of custodial death is also supposed to be reported to the National Human Rights Commission. Commission rules call for the autopsy to be filmed and the autopsy report to be prepared according to a model form.

Human Rights Watch research, court decisions, and media accounts show that these steps are frequently ignored. Internal departmental inquiries to examine wrongdoing rarely find police culpable. The police also delay or resist filing complaints against implicated police officers. In 2015, police registered cases against fellow police officers in only 33 of the 97 deaths in police custody.

Read the full report here

Comments

 

Other News

To understand Modi saga, look at the Vaghela story

Back in the early 1990s, Shankarsinh Vaghela was (or at least perceived to be) more popular of the two people running the BJP show in Gujarat. Today, the other man is the prime minister, and Vaghela is reduced to a footnote – albeit an important one – in the Narendra Modi saga. &n

‘Not just Muslims, everyone is in fear and awe of Yogi Adityanath’

At 70, Dr Aziz Ahmad, a well-known homeopath and politician now with Congress, still has a busy practice in Abu Bazaar, in old Gorakhpur. During working hours, the lane in which he has a clinic becomes jam-packed with patients and their vehicles. People speak of naming the lane after him.

Is poor quality food served on trains?

Is poor quality food served on trains?

Nod to strategic disinvestment of BEML

The government has given ‘in-principle’ approval for strategic disinvestment of BEML Ltd to the extent of 26% of government shareholding with transfer of management control to strategic buyer, minister of state for defence Subhash Bhamre informed the  Lok Sabha on Friday. &nb

Holistic treatment of mentally ill patients

As many as 50 million people suffer from mental illnesses in India – only 10% people with common mental disorders and only 40%-50% people with serious disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder; receive any form of health care.

Online payments, now a phone call away

A project worth Rs 1,000 crore by the department of post will serve as a shot in the arm for financial inclusion in the country. The department, say officials aware of the matter, has zeroed in on the US-based Hewlett Packard (HP) to set up the technology infrastructure for its countrywide rollout of a pay





Video

किरण बेदी को बनाया हिटलर

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter