JAIPUR: There is an alarming increase in the number of deaths in police custody or in encounters with the police in Rajasthan

In a public interest writ petition by the noted civil rights advocate Sunita Satyarthi which has been admitted by the Rajasthan High Court and on which notices have been issued to the State Government it has been alleged that 21 Persons have been killed in police lock-up (including the three killed in an encounter with police in Biwadi in Alwar district) in the state during the last two years.

In her letter to the Chief Justice of the Rajasthan High Court which has been admitted as a public interest writ petition Satyarth has said that as many as 14 deaths were admitted by the Home Minister Dig Vijay Singh in his state meat in the Rajasthan Vidhan Sabha on Sept16 last year. On March 9 this year the Home Minister admitted to another death in police custody.

  The Rajasthan High Court which has issued notices to the Director General of Police and the Home Secretary has directed that the copy of the petitioners letter along with a copy of the counts order   asking for an explanation -be sent to the concemed city magistrates under whose jurisdiction fall the police stations with the dubious distinction of having a custody Death to their credit From the government side the states Additional Advocate General has been appointed to plead the case.

Satyarthi has said in her petition that the police force has been constituted to prevent crime and protect the life of the citizen but in Rajasthan the roe of the police has been reversed and it has chosen to arrogate itself the right of taking life without the process of law. The petitioner has demanded that the state police be directed that it should not call any citizen to the police station without serving formal notice and that there should be immediate medical examination after arrest.

The petitioner has also sought that the court inquire from the state Government as to what steps it has taken against the guilty police officers what relief has been provided to the kin of those killed in police lockup and what steps have been taken to prevent the recurrence of such incidents. She has demanded that a case of murder be registered against the guilty police officers While Justice M.Kalla has asked the state Government to furnish relevant details.

Article extracted from this publication >> May 8, 1996