Detainees subjected to mental, physical torture in jails

Srinagar, April 21, 2020 (PPI-OT): In occupied Kashmir, the Jammu and Kashmir Youth Social Forum and civil society members have condemned the ill-treatment meted out to Kashmiri prisoners in different jails in Jammu region and in India. The Jammu and Kashmir Youth Social Forum General Secretary, Advocate Asif Baba in a statement expressing serious concern over the conditions of political prisoners in jails of Kotbhalwal, Hiranagar, Udhampur, Kathua in Jammu region and in Indian jails.


The statement said that prisoners are being harassed in jails while the dreaded Coronavirus is a new threat. In jails like Kotbhalwal, Hirahangar, Udhampur and Kathua, the prisoners are kept in narrow cells and denied basic rights. According to the prisoners the food served in the said jail is also substandard.


The civil society members in Srinagar talking to media men said that jail authorities are also not allowing their relatives to meet them. They appealed to the United Nations, Amnesty International, Asia Watch and OIC to monitor and see the pathetic and miserable condition of the detainees including Muahmmad Yasin Malik, Massarat Alam Butt, Shabbir Ahmad Shah, Aasiya Andrabi, Fehmidia Sofi, Nahida Nasreen, Altaf Ahmad Shah, Muhammad Aiyaz Akabar, Peer Saifullah, Raja Merajudin, Nayeem Ahmad Khan, Dr Qaim Fakhtoo, Dr. Muhammad Shafi Shariati, Mian Abdul Qayoom, Maulana Sarjan Barkati, Moulana Mushtaq Veeri,Dr Hameed Fayaz and pressurize India to stop this inhuman attitude towards the detainees.


With thousand of detainees including Hurriyat leaders, lawyers, businessmen, social and political activists and women lodged in prisons in Jammu region and in Indian jails like Tihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jodhpure, Karnatana amid a pandemic, their families want them home.


Dr Bilquees Shah, starts her day early these days and works till late night as hospitals in the region battle the coronavirus pandemic remains troubled and restless about her husband and APHC leader Shabbir Ahmad Shah, who is lodged in New Delhi’s Tihar Jail, hundreds of miles away for the last three years.


“It is his 33rd year overall in imprisonment,” said Shah’s wife. “In the earlier times, we never begged the government to release him. But this time, there is a pandemic and it has no borders.” Bilquees said she remains worried about the condition inside jails. “Most of the Kashmiris in Tihar Jail are diabetic like my husband or have other ailments. One Kashmiri detainee has brain tumour. They should be released this time or shifted to Kashmir on humanitarian grounds,” said Shah’s wife.


The Indian National Crime Records Bureau data on Indian prisons last year revealed that Uttar Pradesh had the most overcrowded jails despite having the highest capacity to accommodate prisoners among all states in India.


Zamruda Mushtaq is worried about her 22-year-old son Asif Khushoo who is in detention for the last eight months. She last saw him five months ago in the Agra jail. Since then, she has been waiting to know about his welfare amid spread of COVID-19 in cramped prisons.


Mian Muzaffar, nephew of the Jammu and High Court Bar Association President, Mian Abdul Qayoom, (76), is one of the top lawyers who remains without trial in Tihar Jail, told media men they have not received a word from him in a month due to a complete lockdown imposed across India to combat the COVID-19 spread.


“He has diabetes for the last 26 years and needs 30 units of insulin twice a day. He also has a single kidney for the last 26 years after he suffered a bullet injury in 1995 which also wounded his spine. He has undergone surgery nine times,” Muzaffar said.


Elena Leclerc, the Health in Detention programme coordinator for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), said the outbreak of the disease in prisons can prove devastating for prisoners. “An outbreak of COVID-19 in a prison could be devastating to the population there, especially an overcrowded prison where general health is already low,” she said in an interview published on the ICRC website.


For more information, contact:

Kashmir Media Service

Phone: +92-51-4435548, +92-51-4435549

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