At least 591 custodial deaths in India since 2010: Human Rights Watch

At least 591 people died between 2009-2015 in Indian police custody, many after being tortured, reveals a report by Human Rights Watch, a US-based rights group.

At least 591 custodial deaths in India since 2010: Human Rights Watch

At least 591 people died between 2009-2015 in Indian police custody, many after being tortured, reveals a report by Human Rights Watch, a US-based rights group.

The reports titled “Bound by Brotherhood - India’s Failure to End Killings in Police Custody” claims many Indian police officers are open about their use of the “third degree” a term that can encompass anything from a couple slaps to a savage beating — to extract details or confessions.


The human rights group has urged India to implement a string of oft-ignored regulations and prosecute officers involved in the mistreatment of prisoners.

The report says Indian police often torture criminal suspects to punish them, to gather information, or to coerce confessions. While police blame most of the deaths on suicide, illness, or natural causes, in many such cases family members allege that the deaths were the result of torture.

In last year alone, the report says, as much as 97 people died in police custody. The Killing of convicts in police custody often goes unpunished. The police registered cases against fellow cops in only about a third of these deaths. More than two-thirds of these deaths occurred when the investigating officers did not produce those taken into custody in front of a magistrate within 24 hours of arrest.

The group demanded that police officers who engage in torture and other ill-treatment of prisoners be disciplined and prosecuted.

Police officers will only learn that beating suspects is unacceptable when some are prosecuted, said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director of Human Rights Watch.

Police are required by law under the Code of Criminal Procedure to make a memo of an arrest signed by independent witnesses and immediately send the suspect for medical examination so that there is a record of their pre-existing injuries, if any.

However, police can frequently circumvent these rules by showing arrest dates days after the suspect is actually taken into custody. Sometimes these crimes allegedly committed by the suspects is never proven.