Bihar custodial deaths: 8 ex-DGPs come together in strong condemnation


March 18: The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) comes together in strongly criticising reports of the deaths and alleged custodial torture of two men in Bihar, who were found with with marks of nails hammered into them prior to their burial.

CHRI's police reforms team has been active over the past decade to push for better and more accountable policing across India, and indeed, the Commonwealth -- and we have also been urging India to enact a national legislation against torture, and have been vocal about the shortcomings of the Law Commission's proposed anti-torture bill. We spoke to  eight former DGPs who have come together to condemn this incident. Read their statement below:

We former Directors Generals of Police (DGPs) have come together to condemn the alleged custodial torture of two men at the Dumra police station in Bihar’s Sitamarhi district on 7 March, that eventually caused their death. We extend our condolences to the families of these victims.

We are clear that such interrogation methods as alleged have no place in policing. ‘Third-degree’ [torture] is simply not acceptable and reflects poor professional skills. There must be zero tolerance of such actions, regardless of the antecedents of the accused, or intentions of the police personnel involved. Prompt action by police leadership and the state government against the erring personnel is welcome and reassuring.

All efforts must be directed toward apprehending the perpetrators at the earliest and protection be afforded to the victims’ families. It is only prompt and decisive action by the police against their own delinquents that can maintain faith in the rule of law.

As former DGPs from across the country, we urge state governments to allocate adequate budgets and forensic facilities, and strongly advise police leadership to ensure regular training of field police personnel. This is essential if capacities are to be built up as required for contemporary policing skills. At the same time experts must be enlisted to help initiate the behavioural changes required.


  1. Julio Ribeiro, DGP Punjab (Retd)
  2. Prakash Singh, DGP UP Assam and BSF (Retd)
  3. P.K.H. Tharakan, DGP Kerala (Retd)
  4. Kamal Kumar, DGP National Police Academy, Hyderabad (Retd) 
  5. Jacob Punnoose, DGP Kerala (Retd)
  6. Sanjeev Dayal, DGP Maharashtra ( Retd)
  7. Jayanto N. Choudhury, DGP Assam and NSG (Retd)
  8. N Ramachandran, DGP Meghalaya (Retd)