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Hundreds die of torture in India every year - report

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - About four people have died or been killed in police custody every day in India between 2002 and last year, a large number tortured to death, the Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) said on Wednesday.

An equal number of people are killed in the custody of the army in insurgency-hit areas, many cases go unreported and the guilty go unpunished, the ACHR said in its report, “Torture in India 2008: A State of Denial.”

“Hundreds are killed, dozens are paid compensation but only three to four persons are convicted each year,” Suhas Chakma of the ACHR said on Wednesday.

“India is in a worrying state of denial about torture.”

In India, the police and security forces are often accused of using violence to extract confessions from suspects, a charge denied by the government.

The home ministry says most deaths in custody are caused by illness, suicides and accidents.

The ACHR says India needs to probe all suspected deaths of torture.

The ACHR also accused the Maoists, who say they are fighting for poor farmers in the country, of a poor human rights record.