ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Deaths in Police Custody Whom and Why Do the Police Kill

Deaths in Police Custody: Whom and Why Do the Police Kill? K Balagopal WHEN a person is beaten to death in police custody, the very event, even without the need of any propaganda, generates an image which retrospectively justifies it: the victim would not be beaten so badly if he/she were not a 'desperate' criminal or an otherwise dangerous individual. The police usually add their flourish to the image by describing as the victim's crimes all the charges they have written down in the FIR, some of them even perhaps as an afterthought necessitated by the very death. And when a scholar like Upendra Baxi ("The Crisis of the Indian Legal System") manages to arrive at the conclusion, unsupported by any evidence on exhibit, that custodial violence is used not invariably but rationally or 'judiciously' (a particularly inept choice of a description) by the police in the course of the investigation of crimes, the image acquires respectable solidity: it would not be a very judicious use of torture that beats to death a mere drunkard or pickpocket or prostitute, would it?

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