EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: ASA 20/39/93
UA 357/93 Torture/Deaths in custody 7 October 1993
INDIA: Four deaths in custody in three weeks in Andhra Pradesh:
P. Ashalu, doctor, aged 60
Khader Babu, aged 28
Pochamma, female, aged 16
and a five-month-old child
Amnesty International is deeply concerned for safety of detainees in the
Southern state of Andhra Pradesh. Four people died in police custody within
three weeks in September 1993. These deaths demonstrate that the government
must take immediate and urgent steps to protect all detainees in the state,
to ensure the investigation of all allegations of torture and to bring the
perpetrators to justice.
On 7 September, in Warangal, a five-month old child died allegedly after being
hit in custody by police who were questioning its mother, Sofia.
Pochamma, a tribal girl from Meharnagar village died in hospital on 17 September
after four days in police custody in Pochampally, Nalgonda district. Her father
said that she was slapped by police in his presence and then taken away. A
local human rights group found that Pochamma had been tortured by the police.
On the same day, in Khammam district, Khader Baba died in custody. The press
reported that his body had severe injury marks and two fractured ribs. The
government announced a judicial inquiry into his death on 21 September 1993,
and two constables and a sub-inspector were suspended for their suspected
involvement in the death. On 21 September, P. Ashalu died in custody in Ildenu
town, Khamman district. He allegedly suffered from high blood pressure and
tuberculosis. Mr Ashalu's sons claim he died because police failed to provide
necessary medical care and refused to produce him in court as he refused to
pay them a bribe. In all four cases police claim that the detainees died of
At least 484 people have died in custody of police or security forces throughout
India between January 1985 and November 1992 allegedly as a result of torture.
Some 34 deaths in custody were recorded in Andhra Pradesh in this period.
At least 12 have been reported in the state this year. Impartial judicial
inquiries are rare and only 6 cases are known in which police officers have
been convicted for such crimes between 1985 and October 1991. The deaths in
Andhra Pradesh happened in the same month that Home Minister, S.B. Chavan,
told the most senior police officials in the Andhra Pradesh's capital's National
Police training academy that custodial deaths constituted murder; that they
gave a bad name to the Indian police and that researchers "should find new
ways and sources to extract information from the arrested persons without
Most of those who die in police custody are criminal suspects who are tortured