Data | Five States including Tamil Nadu recorded over 100 custodial deaths but zero police convictions between 2001-18


The recent death of a father-son duo from Tamil Nadu, allegedly due to custodial violence, has sparked anger across India.

While calls for a fair probe are growing, data show that between 2001 and 2018, only 26 policemen were convicted of custodial violence despite 1,727 such deaths being recorded in India. As most such deaths were attributed to reasons other than custodial torture, only a few led to convictions.

Crime and punishment

Between 2001 and 2018, 1,727 persons died in police custody. This includes both persons on police/ judicial remand and those just arrested and not produced before court. Only 26 policemen were convicted in this period for such deaths.

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Also read: Five custodial deaths in India daily, says report

Other reasons

Only 4.3% of the 70 deaths in 2018 were attributed to “injuries during custody due to physical assault by police”. The reasons recorded for the other deaths included suicide and death in hospitals during treatment.

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Hardly any convictions

The graph plots the number of custodial deaths against the number of policemen convicted between 2001 and 2018. Except in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Odisha, no policeman was convicted for such deaths across the country.

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Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra recorded zero convictions despite recording more than 100 custodial deaths in the period.

Getting away

Apart from custodial deaths, more than 2,000 human rights violation cases were recorded against the police between 2000 and 2018. Only 344 policemen were convicted in those cases.

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Also read: Editorial | Senseless deaths: On Tamil Nadu custodial deaths

Source: National Crime Records Bureau

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