Odisha reports zero custodial deaths last year: NCRB report

Gujarat recorded the maximum deaths (22) in this category, followed by Maharashtra (15)
National Crime Records Bureau (Photo | Facebook)
National Crime Records Bureau (Photo | Facebook)

BHUBANESWAR: Earlier criticised for its alleged high-handedness, Odisha Police reported zero custodial deaths last year, revealed the latest National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data.

The State reported no death in police custody/lockup (person not on remand) last year. Gujarat reported the maximum number of deaths (22) in this category, followed by Maharashtra (15). Similarly, Odisha reported no death in police custody/lockup (person on remand) in 2021. Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra reported six deaths each and Andhra Pradesh recorded five.

Odisha had reported two deaths in police custody/lockup in 2020, of them one had allegedly died by suicide and another due to illness. In 2019, the State recorded four deaths in police custody/lockup of persons not on remand and in two cases, a magisterial level enquiry was ordered. Three had allegedly died by suicide and one due to illness. In 2018, two deaths were reported in police custody/lockup.

The Supreme Court had earlier directed all states as well as the Centre to ensure the installation of CCTVs in police stations so that the rights of citizens as enshrined in the Constitution are protected. The apex court was also clear in its directions about the storage of camera footage. The top court had expressed concerns that in spite of constitutional guarantees, the lack of effective legal representation in police stations is a huge detriment to those detained.

“Apart from one or two police stations in the State which will be shifted to new buildings in the coming days, all other police stations have CCTV cameras. The progress in compliance to the Supreme Court’s direction to ensure that the rights of the citizens are protected has been very good,” DGP, Sunil Kumar Bansal told The New Indian Express.

Bansal is also of the opinion that the State Government’s 5T initiative of taking feedback from the people visiting various departments has given a signal to all officers that anyone coming to the police stations must be attended with a civil and courteous manner.

The DGP also said that if the police officers are better trained, they are less likely to be uncivil and harsh with the accused. He credited the training institutes of Odisha Police for being able to instil the values of human rights among the officers.

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