100 Custodial Deaths Registered In 2017: NCRB Data
As many as 100 cases of custodial deaths were registered in 2017, an increase of 9% as against 2016.
The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data released this year reveals that 58 people who died in police custody were not produced before the court and 42 of them were on police or judicial remand.
Andhra Pradesh topped the list with 27 deaths, followed by Maharashtra (15), and Gujarat (10) in 2017.
Speaking to India Spend, Devika Prasad, Programme Head, Police Reforms at the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative said, “One hundred custodial deaths in one year, in my view, point to a serious cause for concern. It indicates that conditions in custody are not conducive to keeping people safe and alive.”
The data released by NCRB on October 21 also revealed that in most cases, the reason behind death was suicide. As many as 37 suicide deaths recorded. Next reason for deaths was due to illness. Almost 28 deaths were recorded in the hospital during treatment with five deaths due to injuries sustained in the police custody, and 22 deaths did not have a specified reason.
Prasad also added that police must be held responsible for the deaths that take place in their custody. There were 56 cases recorded against the police personnel for human rights violations in 2017.
The number of police officers arrested was 57, the number of police officers chargesheeted was 48 and 3 were convicted. The maximum number of cases registered against police personnel were because of torture/hurt/injury (17), next comes death in custody (7), followed by extortion (2), and encounter (2).
Yashovardhan Azad, former Chief Information Commissioner, and Indian Police Service official spoke to India Spend and said that the police stations present in the rural areas do not have basic amenities and the places are devoid of telecommunication signals, internet connectivity, and transportation. The conditions in the lock-ups are terrible and torturous for the people in custody.
These facts and testimonials have instigated angst in the Human Rights Activists who called tortuous investigations as crime and violation of human rights. India Today also reported that Amit Shah at the 26th Foundation Day celebrations of the National Human Rights Commission on October 12 said that the government will have zero tolerance towards custodial deaths and police atrocities.