Hundreds of deaths in police custody go unpunished in India, says a rights group report. The report said that the police personnel were torturing the suspects to death and blaming the incidents as natural deaths or suicides.
The US-based Human Rights Watch published a 114-page report– ''Bound by Brotherhood': India's Failure to End Killings in Police Custody' – on Monday, 19 December detailing the custodial deaths.
The findings of the report said close to 600 people died while in police custody between 2010 and 2015 but not a single case has ended in the conviction of a police officer.
While examining the police officers' disregard for "arrest regulations and impunity," the report investigated 17 deaths in custody and found that in each of these cases the authorities failed to follow proper arrest procedures.
When asked about the key problem in prosecuting police officials, Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director of the Human Rights Watch, told the IBTimes UK: "The primary problem is that the state is unwilling to enforce its own policies. The courts and the state have put in place protection mechanisms to prevent custodial abuse. But not only do the police ignore these systems, they usually get away with serious abuses because of the bond of brotherhood, where the police and the state choose to protect policemen who commit abuses, instead of prosecuting them.
"South Asia inherited its policing system from colonial times when it was designed to keep locals in check. Sadly, police reforms remain long delayed, and as independent nations, police in South Asia remain subject to political and other pressures."
The rights group had conducted more than 70 interviews of the victims, family members, experts and police authorities to put together the report.
It is not uncommon in India – including in some high-profile cases – to see allegations of police brutality and high-handedness. In September, a Tamil film named 'Visaranai', which was based on the theme of deaths in police custody, was sent as the country's official entry to the 2017 Academy Awards.