* 73% of unnatural deaths in Indian prisons are due to suicides
* Karnataka has the highest percentage of suicides in prisons; 97%
* Tamil Nadu has the highest number of unnatural deaths in prisons per year
The brutal death of an Indian inmate Sarabjit Singh at the Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore and a subsequent attack on Pakistani inmate Sanaullah Haq at the Kot Balwal Jail in Jammu brought the issue of custodial deaths to the fore.
IndiaSpend looked at the number of natural and unnatural (death caused by external causes – for e.g. intentional injury/poisoning/homicide/suicide) inmate deaths in India, keeping in mind the brutal battering of Pakistani prisoner Sanaullah and cases of alleged suicides. Incidentally, Ram Singh, the alleged instigator of the Nirbhaya gang rape case, recently committed suicide in Delhi’s Tihar jail.
Some facts: There were 372,926 inmates in Indian jails in 2011. Around 73% of unnatural deaths in Indian prisons are due to suicides, and Karnataka (97%) and Uttar Pradesh (82%) top the state prisons in terms of suicides. And Tamil Nadu has the highest number of unnatural deaths every year (50 since 2009-11). The Ministry of Home Affairs, in a Parliamentary reply recently, gave out state-wise details for 2009, 2010 and 2011 of the number of natural and unnatural deaths in Indian prisons.
The total number of unnatural deaths came down from 109 in 2009 to 88 in 2011. Like we mentioned, there were 372,926 inmates in Indian jails in 2011.
Here’s a look at the top 4 states with highest unnatural deaths:
Figure 1 (b)
Tamil Nadu accounts for the highest number of unnatural inmate deaths every year. Moreover, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan feature in the list every year. The following figures give us an idea of the number of suicides from 2009 to 2011
Figure 2 (a)
The number of all-India suicides in jails came down from 75 in 2009 to 68 in 2011.
Figure 2 (b)
Incidentally, Tamil Nadu is the only state where the number of suicides has been going up. Figure 3 gives an idea of total number of suicides in 3 years compared to the total number of unnatural deaths:
73% of unnatural deaths in Indian prisons are due to suicides. Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh have the highest percentage of suicide deaths in their prisons out of the states studied. Tamil Nadu, which has a very high number of unnatural deaths, has 68% of it due to suicides. The numbers may be coming down but suicides in Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh prisons and the number of unnatural deaths in Tamil Nadu are a cause for concern.