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Is over-reliance on confessions inviting killings in custody?

3 3 0
17.10.2019

An 11-year-old child reportedly saw his father being beaten up in police custody, a beating that eventually led to 35-year-old Pradeep Tomar's death.

Tomar is just one among hundreds of people who have died during coercive interrogations that are more a norm than exception in India.

Not too long ago, the Unnao rape victim's father lost his life while in police custody after reportedly being beaten up mercilessly.

While the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data is discussed each year for rape and murder figures, custodial deaths remain largely a topic of discussion for human rights groups only. According to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), in 2018-19, there were 136 cases of deaths in police custody, while the number of deaths in judicial custody for the same period stood at a staggering 1,797. The numbers have remained more or less the same over the past few years.

Uttar Pradesh, where Tomar died, has the dubious distinction of having the highest number of such cases. During January to August 2017, 204 such deaths were reported in UP, and by February 2018, the numbers had almost doubled.

Tomar was reportedly called in to the police station for questioning in connection with the murder of a woman. The woman's husband allegedly hired two men to kill her for Rs 1.5 lakh. Tomar is believed to be the person the husband asked to pay the contract killers.

Tomar's son, who had accompanied him to the police station, said that his father was first abused by policemen and then the beating started. Soon after the beating, Tomar said he wasn't feeling well. He was taken to a hospital but soon died.

Many policemen would tell you (off the record, of course) that they need to use coercive techniques to elicit a confession........

© DailyO