Observing that many Kashmiri prisoners locked up in different jails outside Kashmir are contracting COVID, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association (JKHBA) yesterday urged the Govt. Of India and UT Of J&K administration to either shift Kashmiri detainees to the nearest jails in the Kashmir valley or release them on parole.
The Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association (JKHBA) on Sunday expressed serious concerns over the health conditions of "hundreds of Kashmiri prisoners lodged in different jails in India".
The press release issued by the Associations states that the family members of the Kashmiri prisoners are seriously concerned about the health and lives of their imprisoned kith and kins.
The Association has also stated that in Tihar Jail, New Delhi, a Kashmiri prisoner named Shahidul Islam got infected with Covid-19, and that a Brain tumor patient Bashir Ahmad Bhat's health condition has further deteriorated.
Similarly, it has been stated that the general health condition of Mohammad Yaseen Malik, Shabir Ahmad Shah, Nayeem Khan, Asiya Andrabi, Nahida Nasreen, Ayaz Akbar, Parvaiz Mir and Ferooz Ahmad Bhat has deteriorated.
In this backdrop, the Association has stated,
"Bar Association expresses deep concern about the physical conditions of the Kashmiri prisoners languishing in Jails, situated outside Jammu & Kashmir."
Further, the Association has demanded that such prisoners must be immediately shifted to the nearest jails in Kashmir valley and also, an appeal has been made that the cases of these prisoners/detenues be reviewed for release on parole and in view of the grave pandemic situation, they be released on parole for the time being.
The Association has also stated that releasing Kashmiri detainees is the prerogative of the government and the government should look into it.
"It was observed in the meeting that due to Covid-19 restrictions courts are not able to take up cases with the desired priority as such administration is requested for shifting or release of the overall prisoners on parole which is the prerogative of the government and not of the judiciary," the press release adds.
In related news, the Government of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has informed the High Court that it is taking all relevant steps to ensure that all prisoners, whether convicted or under-trial, are inoculated against the Covid-19 virus.
Advocate General DC Raina last week informed a Division Bench comprising of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Rajnesh Oswal that the government is conscious of its obligation and appropriate steps are being taken for the vaccination of all the citizens including under-trial as well as convicted prisoners.
The Orissa High Court last week passed significant directions to ensure that all inmates lodged in prisons of the State are vaccinated against the deadly Covid-19 virus.
A Division Bench comprising of Chief Justice Dr. S. Muralidhar and Justice BP Routray was hearing two petitions concerning various issues persistent in the jails in Orissa.
Also, The Gauhati High Court has asked the State Government to file its response within 3 weeks, on a suo moto PIL concerning the jail inmates, who are allegedly not being vaccinated in the state of Assam.
Registering the matter as a suo moto PIL (pursuant to a letter sent by an NGO, Nilima Studio) the Bench of Chief Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia and Justice Kalyan Rai Surana, issued this order.