The Parliamentary Committee on Empowerment of Women has expressed concern about increasing incidents of rapes in Uttar Pradesh’s jails, and instructed authorities to keep it informed of the actions taken against the offenders and steps taken to prevent female detainees from being sexually assaulted.
The panel, which looked at data from 2015, tabled its report, “Women in Detention & Access to Justice”, in the Parliament on Friday. It said 95 cases of custodial rape were reported from Uttar Pradesh alone, followed by two cases from Uttarakhand and one each from Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal. The committee noted that most of the states had reported zero custodial rapes, and said that there was “a stark difference in the data provided by various states”.
However, according to the data for 2016 provided by the National Crime Records Bureau, 11 of the total 26 custodial rapes reported were from Uttar Pradesh. Overall, the state recorded 14.5% of the cases of crimes committed against women.
The panel said it was “perturbed at the reported instances of custodial excesses [cases of rapes, deaths in custody] which compromise the basic rights of individual”. Lack of proper training and internalisation of values of the police force are the cause of “such irresponsible behaviour on the part of the police personnel”, the committee noted.
The panel suggested better surveillance and supervision of prisons through CCTV cameras, and said senior officers should inspect police stations regularly. “There should be a greater interface with civil rights activists and their access to people in custody must be facilitated,” the panel said in its report.
Uttar Pradesh Inspector General of Prisons PK Mishra, however, denied that the rapes occurred in jails, the Hindustan Times reported. “It could have occurred in other places...police stations or maybe nari niketan [correctional facilities for women].”