In March, the Institute of Correctional Administration (ICA), based in Chandigarh, released a report regarding the prevalence of torture among Punjab Police entitled “Custodial Deaths and Human Rights Commission – an analysis of its role and prevention.”

The report’s author Dr. Upneet Lalli, Deputy Director of the ICA, interviewed 150 police officials for the study. Half of the respondents admit that torture is used in interrogations due to social and political pressures.  While torture is cited as the leading cause of death in police custody, only 27 percent of respondents say their colleagues feel bad about its use.  The report attributes this attitude to the lack of accountability and “almost total immunity” often enjoyed by police. The report also notes a widespread ignorance of the guidelines issued by the National Human Rights Commission on custody-related issues and the relevant Articles of the Indian Constitution condemning torture.  The report further remarks: “There seems to be no clear cut message from the top about intolerance to torture.” 

The report has been submitted to the Punjab State Human Rights Commission. More information about the report is available from the Tribune News Service.


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