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Why most custodial deaths are of Muslims, Dalits: Bombay high court
Saturday August 2, 2014 6:18 AM, Agencies

Pointing to a cruel phenomenon which has become a norm, the Bombay high court observed on Thursday that the victims of custodial deaths in Maharashtra appear to be only from the minority community, and said it would take stern measures to curb such atrocities.

Custodial deaths

"We find that most of the cases of custodial deaths are against persons belonging to the minority community. We want to do something to prevent this," the court said.

The bench was hearing a petition filed by Aliya Begum Ansari, mother of Taj Mohammad, a 23-year-old resident of Sion here claiming that her son had died under mysterious circumstances two years ago.

According to the petition, Taj Mohammad, a mobile repairer, was arrested by the Sion police on February 21, 2012, for the alleged theft of a mobile phone. He was initially kept in police custody and then transferred to judicial custody, where he died.

Alleging that Taj Mohammad was tortured by prison officials, Ansari's petition sought compensation and urged the court to direct CBI to probe the case. In July 2012 Ansari passed away and since then her husband Deen Mohammad is pursuing the case.

The court also appointed Advocate Yug Choudhry as amicus curiae (court- appointed advocate) to represent petitioner Aliya Begum Ansari. The court also clubbed all the petitions pertaining to custodial deaths.

Accepting the appointment, Choudhry said: "I have researched and found that in most of the cases of custodial deaths, the victim is either a Muslim or Dalit."

According to the National Crime Records Bureau, 1,418 custodial deaths took place in India between 1999 and 2013, and around 23% of these (or 333) were reported from Maharashtra. For the majority of the 15 years, the state topped the custodial death charts.


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