File photo
File photo

The custodial death of Jayaraj and his son Fenix in Tamil Nadu has sent shock-waves across the country. The duo died within 10 hours of each other, allegedly due to police torture.

Reports suggest that the police manhandled Jayaraj prompting his son to intervene. According to The Free Press Journal's Dravida Thambi, they had allegedly been beaten up by two sub-inspectors, and one individual who claimed to have been an eyewitness said that Fenix had been sexually abused.

Later, after being remanded in police custody, Fenix had complained of uneasiness and had been rushed to the hospital. He passed away soon after, and his father died a few hours later.

This particular case sparked outrage on social media, however, the latest available data by the National Human Rights Commission, National Crimes Records Bureau Report, and various NGOs suggest that the incidences of custodial deaths are rampant in India. Thus, after going through the statistics one must relise that this debate about the custodial deaths should go beyond this particular case.

Here are some findings from the various reports for you:

  • Recently The National Campaign Against Torture (NCAT) in its “India: Annual Report on Torture 2019” stated that India records five deaths in custody daily.

  • The NHRC, from 1993 to 2017 recorded almost 31,845 cases of custodial deaths in India.

  • In the year 2017-18, the Investigation Division of NHRC dealt with a total of 5,371 cases which included 250 cases of deaths in police custody.

  • According to the NCAT report (India: Annual Report on Torture 2019), a total of 1,731 persons died in custody during 2019 which included 125 deaths in police custody across the country.

  • Out of these 125 deaths, Uttar Pradesh topped the tally almost with 14 deaths, followed by Tamil Nadu and Punjab with 11 deaths each.

  • The figures for deaths reported in police custody as per the latest available NCRB Report 2018 are at 70, with the States - Gujrat (14) and Tamil Nadu (12) and Andhra Pradesh (11) - topping the tally.

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