State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) Monday directed Home Secretary to ensure rights of prisoners of J&K languishing in jails outside the state are not violated.
SHRC order came in the backdrop of petition filed by Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) against alleged ill-treatment meted out to Kashmiri prisoners in Tihar and Kathua Jail,
The direction of SHRC reads, “One of the members of the commission Mr Jang Bahadur Singh Jamwal visited Kathua Jail but Tihar Jail is out of the jurisdiction of the commission as it is situated in Delhi, therefore Home Secretary is directed to look into the matter and ensure that rights of prisoners from J&K are not violated and ensure protection of rights of prisoners.”
Chairperson of the commission Justice (Retd) Bilal Nazki directed Home Secretary of the State to file the report about the issue within six weeks.
Pertinent to mention here the petition about the plight of Kashmiri prisoners was filed by JRL including Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik.
The petition reads, “In the former (Tihar Jail), the Kashmiri inmates are subjected to inhuman deprivation, Medical treatment for those who require it is lacking, the inmates are deprived of contact with their near and dear ones and also other basic needs.”
JRL in a petition while terming Kathua Jail a ‘torture chamber’ further stated that “In the Kathua jail, which has become a torture chamber, Kashmiri inmates are deprived of human contact for many months. This amounts to punishment beyond prison time and is inhuman.”
The petition also reads, “There are large numbers of under trials cramped in unhygienic conditions. Medication provided to them is substandard. The inmates also have to seek permission from jail authorities even in health matters.”
“Food provided is of bad quality and it is provided during odd hours. Kashmiri inmates are kept with hardened of criminals in cramped prisons who pose life threat to them. Their movement is restricted and water is also not in their cells,” the petition reads.
Referring to the rights, basic dignity and welfare of prisoners in the jails outside the Kashmir valley, JRL in the petition said, “Inmates with health issues are not given required treatment. Deprivation of rights to Kashmiri prisoners in Indian jails goes against prisoners’ rights. Imprisoning Kashmiri does not mean that they should be treated as animals. The basic dignity and welfare of prisoners is crushed and their basic humanity is attempted to be undermined by draconian measures.”
Chairman International Forum of Justice (IFJ) Ahsan Untoo was present during the SHRC proceedings.