New Delhi: Gujarat ranked first in the country in custodial deaths with 80 deaths accused in the last five years, according to a report from the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
According to the data, Gujarat had 14 custodial deaths between 2017-18, 13 during 2018-19 and 12 during 2019-20. The number of instances went up to 24 between 2021-22.
The report was tabled by the Home Department in Rajya Sabha.
Gujarat Congress spokesperson Hiren Banker said, “The growing number of custodial deaths in Gandhi-Sardar’s Gujarat is a shame for the state. The rule of law governs a civil society. However, the BJP government’s use of incarceration is an abuse of power.”
Data from the home ministry also points to the dismal condition of jails in the state, the New Indian Express reports. “Gujarat state has a prison capacity of 13,999 prisoners, 16,597 prisoners are currently housed in its jails. Importantly, the numbers unequivocally show that Gujarat’s jails are overflowing with 2,598 inmates,” the MHA said in parliament.
Last month, data from the MHA had revealed that the number of deaths in police custody witnessed a nearly 60% increase over the last three years and 75% over the last two years across the country. The data also revealed that the number of such cases rose by a whopping 10 times in Maharashtra, three times in Kerala and Bihar, and two times in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka.