Rights activists ascribe deaths to torture in police lock-up, jails
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, July 12: Despite repeated cases of custodial deaths in the State, the Assam police remains unconcerned and carries on with its old ways with impunity.
The recent death of a woman in Dispur police station is indicative of the lapses of policing that the State force has become associated with, and for which they are seldom held accountable. Neither has the police headquarters taken any initiative to tutor and groom its personnel, particularly on human rights issues and the guidelines and convention they need to follow while handling the accused, not has the government taken any deterrent steps.
Official sources said during the year 2014-15, the tiol Human Rights Commission has received seventeen cases of custodial deaths in the State. Besides, there were also 23 cases of violation of human rights inside State jails during the period.
The previous year, the number of custodial deaths reported to the NHRC was 14.
In the years 2011-12 and 2012-13, the numbers of custodial deaths were 20 and 21 respectively.
Interestingly, according to the tiol Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), in 2012, Assam recorded the highest numbers of police custodial deaths. During that year, 11 persons had died during police remand in lock-ups in Assam. Worse, though autopsy, case registration and magisterial enquiries were conducted in all the cases, no policemen were charge-sheeted or convicted in any of these cases in 2012.
According to rights activists, about 99.99% of deaths in police custody are ascribed to torture and they occur within 48 hours of the victims being taken into custody.
"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 custody and prison are reported to the NHRC. Further, the NHRC does not have jurisdiction over the armed forces," said a rights activist.
During 2001-2010, 165 deaths in judicial custody were reported in the State and 84 deaths in police custody.