NEW DELHI, Nov 21: More than four people are killed by torture in India every day, the Delhi-based Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) said on Monday, scanning official data for 10 years up to 2010.The privately-funded report does not include the torture havoc in Kashmir and northeastern states where the Armed Forced Special Powers Act (AFSPA) protects the army against scrutiny by civilian authority for rights violation.
“From 2001 to 2010, the NHRC (state-run National Human Rights Commission) recorded 14,231 i.e. 4.33 persons died (every day) in police and judicial custody in India,” the ACHR said. These include 1,504 deaths in police custody and 12,727 deaths in judicial custody from 2001-2002 to 2009-2010.
The number of deaths in police custody from conflict afflicted states like Jammu and Kashmir and Manipur do not reflect the gravity of the situation.
The NHRC registered only six deaths in police custody in Jammu and Kashmir from 2001-02 to 2010-11, while only two cases of deaths in police custody were recorded from Manipur during the same period.
“This is despite the fact that on 31 March 2011 Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah in a written reply to a question in the Legislative Council stated that 341 persons had died in police custody in the state since 1990,” ACHR report said.
“Furthermore records of custodial deaths do not include deaths in the custody of the armed forces. The NHRC has been denied a mandate to investigate human rights violations by the armed forces under section 19 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 as amended in 2006.”
Maharashtra recorded the highest number of deaths in police custody with 250 deaths; followed by Uttar Pradesh (174); Gujarat (134); Andhra Pradesh (109); West Bengal (98); Tamil Nadu (95); Assam (84); Karnataka (67); Punjab (57); Madhya Pradesh (55); Haryana (45); Bihar (44); Kerala (42); Jharkhand (41); Rajasthan (38); Orissa (34); Delhi (30); Chhattisgarh (24); Uttarakhand (20); Meghalaya (17); Arunachal Pradesh (10); Tripura (8); Jammu and Kashmir (6); Himachal Pradesh (5); Goa, Chandigarh and Pondicherry (3 each); Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland (2 each); and Sikkim and Dadra and Nagar Haveli (1 each).
India signed the United Nations Convention Against Torture (UNCAT) in 1997 and stated that ratification will follow soon. However, 14 years later, New Delhi is yet to ratify the UNCAT.