HYDERABAD : Ever since Telangana acheived statehood, State police have been trying to create a brand image of ‘people friendly policing.’ However, repeated incidents of ‘custodial deaths’ or deaths of accused persons while in police custody seem to be seriously damaging these efforts.
Call it ‘third degree torture’ or ‘interrogational necessities’ for obtaining information, or even cases of ill fortune, the number of deaths of persons while in custody of police is on the rise.
The recent one being the case of a man who collapsed in the washroom of Mangalhat police station in the city.
The CCTV footage from inside the police station seemed to rule out physical abuse from the police as the cause of death. Even so, senior officers are said be concerned.
Leading the way, Director General of Police (DGP) Anurag Sharma is understood to have sought ways and means in which such incidents could be prevented.
Creating awareness among the investigators and educating officers or imparting skills of interrogation without getting physical are being mooted.
Sources told Express that DGP has asked all Superintendents of Police (SPs) and Commissioners of Police (CPs) to send a report on custodial deaths took place between 2007 and 2017 to the headquarters.
“We have asked the officials to furnish details of custodial deaths. How these incidents took place like deaths of suspects/accused during the interrogation, hanging incidents inside police stations, accused persons who died after interrogation.”
“We also asked to enclose the post mortem reports of victims who died in police custody,’’ a senior officer told Express.
AP era problem
From 2001 to 2013, around 210 custodial deaths have been reported in erstwhile AP. Around six to eight incidents of custodial deaths have been reported in Telangana since its formation. Interestingly, majority of the suspects died in custody due to Myocardial Infarction (MI), also called acute cardiac arrest.
Police negligence to blame?
Potturi Suresh Kumar, a human rights lawyer at Hyderabad HC, said custodial deaths take place due to police negligence. Law mandates that the station house officer or investigator is responsible in protecting arrested persons.
“The section 55A of CrPC speaks about health and safety of arrested person. It shall be the duty of the police officer having the custody of an accused to take care of the health and safety of the accused,’’ Suresh Kumar said.