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1888 custodial deaths in 20 years, but only 26 policemen proved guilty; This report scares

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The death of Altaf in Kasganj, Uttar Pradesh, is once again in the dock of the police department and this incident has sparked a new debate regarding the deaths in police custody. If we look at the accounts of the last twenty years, 1888 cases of death in police custody were reported in the country, but only 26 policemen were found guilty. According to the National Crime Records Bureau’s Annual Crime in India report, 1888 people have died in police custody in the last 20 years across the country, but only 26 policemen were found guilty. According to the data, 893 cases have been registered against policemen and charge sheets have been filed against 358 in custodial death cases.

This figure is also important in the present time because Altaf, a resident of Ahroli, who was brought to the Kotwali police station in Uttar Pradesh’s Kasganj, had died in the case of kidnapping. In this case, the victim’s father Chand Mian had accused the police of committing murder. Five policemen have been suspended after this incident. Police had claimed that Altaf hanged himself with a spout in the toilet of the lockup.

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According to the Indian Express report, NCRB data shows that the highest number of custodial death cases were found by police in 2006 itself. Of the 11 policemen found guilty in 2006, seven were from Uttar Pradesh and four from Madhya Pradesh. According to the latest data, Gujarat had the highest number of custodial deaths in 2020. In Gujarat 15 incidents of custodial death were registered. Apart from this, similar cases of death in police custody were also reported in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Madhya Pradesh. But it is to be noted here that in the last year i.e. 2020, not a single one was found guilty.

Since 2017 NCRB has been releasing data on policemen arrested in custodial death cases. In the last four years, 96 policemen have been arrested in connection with the custodial deaths. However, data for earlier years is not available. The NCRB has divided the death in police custody or lockup into two parts – one on remand and the other not on remand. Data from the bureau shows that since 2001, 1185 cases of custodial death have been registered in the not on remand category and 703 in the on remand category. According to the data, out of 893 cases registered against policemen in connection with custodial deaths during the last two decades, 518 pertain to those who were not on remand.

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