Tihar Jail and Kashmiri Prisoners

Sajad Farooq Rather
January 14, 2018 OPINION 157 Views

Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru , the first Prime Minister of India expressed a view that criminals are largely creation of social conditions and therefore, they are required to be treated rather than being punished”. The Tihar Jail have capacity of mere 6,500 inmates and the current exceeds the capacity by 221 percent. Majority of under trials in Tih ar languish prison as they can not furnish bail bonds due to poverty. 75% are of inmates are under trials, majority of them are poor. According to National Crime Bureau FIGURES, Delhi comes third in overcrowding of jail just after the Union territory of Dadra and Nagar haveli. In 1995 there were 8500 prisoners in Tihar Jail as against the capacity of 2500 persons, still as per NCRB report the jail have capacity of mere 6,500 inmates and the current exceeds the capacity by 221 percent, as a result of this hardened Criminals may spread their influence over other inmates.
National Human Rights Commission of India states that unnecessary and unjustified arrests made by the Police and slow judicial process causing congestion o funder trial prisoners are the main causes of overcrowding in jails.
Two out of three prisoners in India are still undergoing trial, and a quarter of them have been in prison for over a year without being convicted of any crime because of routine violations of their legal rights, a new report has found. According to the report, tens of thousands of people are trapped in jails because they don’t have access to good lawyers (in some cases any lawyers), or simply because there is not enough infrastructure for them to actually have a court hearing in time.
Besides the Problem of overcrowding of prisoners in jail, Prisoners are also subjected victims of Torture and humiliation especially Muslim prisoners. On November 27, the Counsel for Shahid Yousuf, the son of United Jehad Council chief Syed Salahuddin who is in the high security Tihar Jail produced a ‘blood-stained’ shirt Tamil Nadu Force guarding the Jail Cells of Tihar.
While confirming it, family members said that Shahid was not only abused but mercilessly thrashed by of Shahid before Patiala Court alleging that his client was ruthlessly beaten up by Tamil Nadu Force inside Tihar Jail. Dr Bilqis shah, the wife of Senior resistance leader Shabir Shah who was recently shifted from jail 7 to jail number 1 where “death convicts are lodged”, she said in Tihar Jail prisoners are subjected to gross human rights violations. Jail rules are thrown to the wind and prisoners are subjected to mental and physical torture. Jail authorities denied the use of credit card to deposit Rs 600 in Shah’s account. There are dozen of Families from Kashmir who have stopped sending money to their loved ones.
Dozen of Kashmiri Prisoners languish in in jails across various parts of India. It is not Only Tihar Jail where Kashmiri Prisoner is subjected to Torture, almost in every jail Kashmiri prisoner is subjected to Torture.
Article 5 of UDHR, states that “ no one shall be subjected to torture inhuman or degrading treatment of Punishment. In Tihar Jail , the Kashmiri inmates are being even deprived of basic rights to survive and no medical treatment is being provided . Various jail had become a torture centre where Kashmiri inmates are deprived of human contact for months.
The modern Indian prison system is a legacy of British colonial rule. Its roots can be traced back to England in the eighteenth century, during a time when even the slightest criminal offence was punishable by death. Today’s prison system is based on Prison act of 1894.
Mary Robinson said, “Today’s Human Rights Violation are the causes of tomorrow’s conflict”. My message here is to Government must announce package for prison reformation as part of the National Prison Policy being implemented by the Centre. Government must set up working groups, committee’s and commissions to investigate the issue of prisoners and offer solution. The present legal structure of prison should be changed, loopholes in Criminal Law Should be amended. Indian Judiciary must give essential contribution and active role in prison justice.
Author is Law student and can be reached @ sajadfarooqrather@gmail.com

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