India: “…1.8 million victims of police torture and violence every year…”

India’s record on custodial torture dismal

Anahita Mukherji | The Times of India | June 28, 2012

NEW DELHI: The Torture Convention was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 10 December 1984 (resolution 39/46) and it came into force on 26 June 1987 after being ratified by 20 nations. The Torture Convention completed 25 years of its presence earlier this week and it’s an opportune moment for India to introspect on its dismal track record of custodial torture.

According to a recent report on human rights in India, a study of 47 districts over a period of more than two years shows that on an average 1.8 million people are victims of police torture and violence in India every year . The release of the report, prepared by the Working Group on Human Rights in India and the UN (WGHR), a coalition of human rights bodies, coincided with India’s Universal Periodic Review on human rights at the United Nations.

The report cites data released by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), which reported an average of 43 deaths in police or prison custody every day in the decade 2001 to 2010. “These figures represent only a fraction of the actual number of deaths in custody as they reflect only the cases registered before the NHRC,” says the WGHR report.

The report points to the widespread and routine use of torture in conflict areas, leading to both physical and mental disabilities as well as impotence. “Common methods of torture in Kashmir and the North-East include assault, placement of an iron rod on the legs on which many people sit, placement of a burning stove between the legs and administration of electric shocks to the genitals,” adds the report. Continue reading