Ground Report | New Delhi: Custodial deaths in India; In the last 20 years, 1,888 people have died in police custody in the country. But only 893 cases were registered against policemen and out of these, charge sheets were filed against only 358 policemen. Ultimately only 26 policemen were punished.
These data have been collected from the National Crime Records Bureau’s Annual Crime in India (CII) Report for the year 2001-2020. These figures are even more significant at a time when the debate on such deaths has once again intensified with the death of 22-year-old Altaf at a police station in UP.
Altaf, 22, was called to a police station in UP’s Kasganj district for questioning in connection with the disappearance of a Hindu girl. Where he died. Police claim that he committed suicide by hanging himself from the bathroom toilet, but Altaf’s family is calling it a case of custodial death. Five policemen have been dismissed in this case. (Custodial deaths in India)
A study of NCRB data shows that the maximum number of custodial deaths in 2006 were 11 policemen to blame. In which seven were found guilty in UP and four in Madhya Pradesh. Last year i.e. in 2020, 76 people died in custody. In which Gujarat has the highest number of 15 deaths. Apart from this, such cases have also been reported from Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and West Bengal. However, no one has been convicted last year.
The NCRB has been releasing the figures of policemen arrested in custodial death cases since 2017. In the last four years, 96 policemen have been arrested in connection with the custodial deaths. However, it does not include figures for the previous year. Bureau data show that since 2001, there have been 1,185 deaths in the “not on remand” category and 703 in the “in remand” category.
Of the 893 cases registered against police personnel in connection with custodial deaths during the last two decades, 518 pertain to those who were not on remand. When contacted by The Indian Express about the NCRB data, retired IPS and former UP DGP Prakash Singh said – “The lapses in police functioning should be acknowledged and rectified”.
In its records compiled from data submitted by states and union territories, the NCRB has classified “deaths in police custody/lockup” under two categories: persons not on remand and persons in remand. The first category includes those who have been arrested but not yet produced in court, and the second category includes those who are in police/judicial remand.