Protection from torture is a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, but statistics are enough to tell that the fundamental right of citizens is being violated continuously.
NCRB report exposes police brutality in the country. Police reforms have been a long-running debate in India, and the statistics of custodial deaths grab attention every now and then.
Union Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai told that in Uttar Pradesh alone, there were a total of 501 custodial deaths in 2021-22, while earlier i.e. in 2020-21, 451 cases of custodial death were registered. After UP comes the number of West Bengal and then Madhya Pradesh.
While the number of custodial deaths across the country in 2021-22 is 2544 while in 2020-21 this number was 1940, in Uttar Pradesh 1,318 people have died in police and judicial custody in the last three years.
According to the report of the National Human Rights Commission i.e. NHRC, 2,152 people died in judicial custody across the country in the year 2021-22 while 155 people died in police custody. That is, every day 6 people are dying in custody.
The Supreme Court had strongly reprimanded the UP government in the case of undertrial prisoners lodged in jail. On July 25, 2022, during the hearing of the cases of 853 prisoners who were in custody for more than ten years, the Supreme Court told the UP government that if it does not take a decision on their release, then the court will issue bail orders for all at once.
In November last year, a young man named Altaf died in custody in Kasganj. At first the police tried to call this death a suicide, but Altaf’s family accused the Kasganj police of murder. In this case also five policemen were suspended. The investigation is still going on.
A case of death of an 18-year-old youth in police custody in Bangarmau town of Unnao had also come to the fore. Two UP police constables had gone to enforce the Corona curfew and took Faizal to the police station for running a vegetable stall, Faizal’s health deteriorated in police custody and then he died. A case was registered against two police constables and a home guard in the case.
A few days ago, the death of a person named Balwant Singh in police custody in Kanpur Dehat Lalpur Saraiya village of Uttar Pradesh has raised questions on the working style of the UP Police, the police custody of businessman Balwant Singh, who was taken on suspicion of robbery I had died.
More than 22 injury marks were found on the body of deceased Balwant Singh from head to toe. Injury marks were found on every part of his body. However, on the instructions of the Superintendent of Police, the accused policemen were suspended.
Questioning the UP government, Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav demanded an inquiry by the CBI or the sitting judge regarding this matter. Also raised the demand of giving one crore compensation and government job to the family. The same Aam Aadmi Party’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh raised the matter of death in the custody of Uttar Pradesh Police in the Parliament.