Lockup Deaths Equal Conflict Toll21 November 2011
Times of India
New Delhi: In the last decade, over 14,000 people have died in police and judicial custody in Jammu & Kashmir. According to data collated by the Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR), between 2001 and 2011, over four people died in custody everyday. 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). This figure is comparable to the number of people killed in conflict in J&K and Maoist violence. Reports by the ministry of home affairs say that 15,809 people, including security forces, civilians and alleged terrorists, were killed in conflict in J&K while 9,060 people were killed due to Left-wing extremism. ACHR's report - 'Torture in India 2011' - has also found that Maharashtra recorded the highest number of deaths in police custody with 250 deaths. This was followed by Uttar Pradesh (174), Gujarat (134), Andhra Pradesh (109) and West Bengal (98). 'About 99.99% of deaths in police custody can be ascribed to torture and occur within 48 hours of the victim being taken into custody. Though Maharashtra has a total population of 112 million in comparison to 199 million in Uttar Pradesh according to 2011 Census, the fact that 76 more people were killed in police custody in Maharashtra shows that torture is more rampant in police custody in Maharashtra than Uttar Pradesh,' Suhas Chakma, ACHR's director, said. During the last decade, 12,727 deaths in judicial custody took place. UP recorded the highest number of deaths in judicial custody with 2,171 deaths, followed by Bihar (1,512), Maharashtra (1,176), Andhra Pradesh (1,037) and Tamil Nadu (744). Chakma pointed out that the number of deaths in police custody recorded from conflict afflicted states like J&K and Manipur did not reflect the gravity of the situation. The NHRC registered only 6 deaths in police custody in Jammu & Kashmir from 2001-02 to 2010-11, while only 2 cases of deaths in police custody were recorded from Manipur during the same period.