Second Highest Custodial Deaths in TN
It is a matter of concern that India ranks high in the arena of custodial deaths. The event of the demise of an individual detained for a conviction or under-trial, is on the rise. An individual can die under three categories in the case of custodial death - death in police custody, death in judicial custody and death in custody of defence/para- military forces.
The brunt of these institutional murders must be borne by the government of respective states where the police commit such crimes. A total of 1,674 custodial deaths have taken place - including 1,530 in judicial custody and 144 deaths in police custody, which have taken place between April 1, 2017 and February 28,2018.
Records show that Gujarat has the highest number of custodial deaths, 13 in all, in 2018. This is followed by Tamil Nadu with 12 custodial deaths. However, not a single charge-sheet has been filed; nor a single arrest made. While Gujarat ordered magisterial inquiries into 7 of the 13 deaths, 10 people were arrested. Gujarat however registered cases only for three incidents, whereas Tamil Nadu registered cases in all 12 incidents.
According to lawyers and civil rights activists, the safety of any person in custody is the responsibility of the police. Activists state that the police often use force to extract confessions from the accused.
The data that has emerged outlines a disturbing trend, which is a clear indication that the police do hush up custodial deaths. Most of the victims are from economically weaker sections, and are hence afraid to raise their voices against police personnel. However good the laws may be, they suffer from poor execution.
Enquiry and prosecution by the same department holds no water, as no justice will be rendered. Sources within the department have admitted that force is being used while apprehending a suspect or a criminal evading arrest for a long time. Also there are no aids like CCTV cameras to support the process of investigation. Most prisoners brought before the magistrate do not admit being beaten up by the police.