Nearly 600 died in custody from 2009-2015 in India: Human Rights Watch

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Nearly 600 people died in police custody in India between 2010 and 2015, many after being tortured, says the US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) in a new report.

Urging India to implement a string of often-ignored regulations and prosecute officers involved in the mistreatment of prisoners Human Rights Watch said that police regularly disregard arrest procedures and torture suspects in custody to death. The police often blame such deaths on suicide or illness.

The rights group said no policeman was convicted for a prisoner’s death in custody during this period.

On Monday, the rights group released a 114-page report which examines “police disregard for arrest regulations, custodial deaths from torture, and impunity for those responsible”.

Citing government data, the report said that 97 people died in police custody in 2015. In 67 of those cases, authorities either failed to take the suspects before a magistrate within 24 hours of arrest, as required by law, or the suspects died within 24 hours of being arrested.

The New York-based group demanded that police officers who engage in torture and other ill-treatment of prisoners be disciplined and prosecuted.

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