GUWAHATI, Nov 21 – During 2001-2010, Assam recorded 84 custodial deaths while the overall figure for the country stood at 14,231, with Maharashtra accounting for the highest number among the States with a count of 250 custodial deaths.
The corresponding figures for Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura were 17, 10 and 8 respectively, while Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland had two custodial deaths each. Sikkim had one.
The data were revealed by the Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) in its report, ‘Torture in India 2011’” that was released today.
The report noted 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 report said.
Demanding enactment of the Prevention of Torture Bill, 2010 in the current session of the Parliament, the ACHR said that the failure of the Ministry of Home Affairs to introduce the Prevention of Torture Bill drafted by the Rajya Sabha Select Committee headed by Ashwani Kumar, the current Minister of State for Planning, in December 2010 in the Parliament session beginning on November 22, 2011 demonstrated “India’s lack of political will to stamp out torture.”