Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Police custody deaths are on rise

Custody deaths on rise

For eight years since 2000, a 54.02 per cent increase has been recorded in prison deaths, while deaths in police custody have gone up by 19.88 per cent, says a report released by the Asian Centre for Human Rights.

The report, Torture in India 2010, comes at a time when the government is pushing for an anti-torture law. Last week, the cabinet approved the prevention of torture Bill, 13 years after the country signed an international treaty against torture.

The numbers of deaths in judicial custody (jail) between 2000 and 2008 were 10,721, while 1,345 people died in police custody, says the report, based on figures released by the National Human Rights Commission and government departments.

He demanded scraping of the law requiring sanction to prosecute police and other government officials and implementation of the Law Commission’s report on “custodial crimes” that calls for shifting the burden of proof on the police in custodial death cases.

And that is the crux of the problem of police brutality and high-handedness!  A common citizen can be prosecuted based on complaint by someone, but when it comes to those in positions of trust and power over people, a sanction for prosecution is required.  Indeed the system in India is designed to fool the international community (and many Indians) into thinking that we have a great system of constitution, legal principles, and judiciary; when in reality the ‘system’ is no more than some kind of functioning anarchy.

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