1,535 custodial deaths in 5 yearsPosted: January 28, 2009
According to Charles Santiago HERE (thanks to Gadfly for the link):
According to statistics revealed in Parliament last year, there were a total of 1535 custodial deaths in the country between 2003 and 2007.
Assuming that “between 2003 and 2007” means both 2003 and 2007 inclusive, that would mean that a total of 1,535 custodial deaths occured in 5 years, averaging to about 307 custodial deaths every year.
Is that normal?
Comparing with other countries:
~ India: 415 custodial deaths during 1985-1991; 197 custodial deaths during 1990-1992. Sourced from HERE.
~ Australia: An average (I estimated) of about 100 custodial deaths a year. Line graph HERE.
I don’t wish to dehumanise this into mere statistics. One death in custody is already one too many. But given the context that perhaps accidents DO happen, I felt that I had to see for myself if 307 custodial deaths a year could be justified.
However, it seems that nothing can really justify the high number of custodial deaths that occur in this country of ours.
I’ve read some comments out there that Kugan had it coming. I don’t think this is fair, and being very unkind indeed. No matter if he was a criminal or not, no one deserves to die the way he did. It’s almost like saying someone “deserves” to be infected with HIV because that person sleeps around. Or like saying someone “deserves” to get raped because that person was scantily dressed. It just isn’t right.
Kugan’s death in custody was brought to our attention. But what about the 1,534 other deaths that have happened before this? And others that happened within other time-frames? What happened to them?
The numbers are disturbing. The photos of Kugan’s body were disturbing. And I am left with a disturbing thought. Were the other people who died in police custody also subjected to physical abuse? Have all custodial deaths been properly accounted for?