J&K Bar Association alleges ‘torture’ of Kashmiri inmates by Udhampur Jail authorities

By Raqib Hameed Naik, TwoCircles.net

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association has levelled serious allegations against the jail authorities of District Jail Udhampur, accusing them of ‘torturing and ruthlessly’ beating the Kashmiri inmates lodged there and have condemned the same. The association is going to file a petition in High Court on Monday, December 21 against the abuse of prisoners.

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“Bar Association takes the strong notice of the events which have happened in District Jail Udhampur and has decided to take the matter with the Honourable High Court and have decided to file a petition before the Court for initiating appropriate action against the jail authorities,” Bar Association said in a statement.

While briefing about the existing jail rules and regulations, the Bar said that no prisoner can be beaten or tortured by the jail authorities while in their custody. He cannot be also subjected to forced labour or to do any other manual work in the jail. The jail authorities are bound to respect the legal and fundamental right of the prisoners and treat them with compassion while they are in their custody. Anyone who beats or tortures a prisoner in the jail is guilty of a criminal offence and he is required to be dealt sternly under law.

The association asked human rights watchdogs Amnesty International and Asia Watch to ensure the safety and security of the prisoners lodged in the different jails of J&K and to impress upon the jail authorities to desist from beating or torturing them in their custody.

Importantly, the separatist faction of Geelani, Hurriyat (G) on Saturday, December 19 had leveled similar allegations of harassment and abuse of prisoners on the Udhampur Jail officials.

The Hurriyat had claimed that government is treating the Kashmiri political prisoners at par with professional criminals and murderers and they were subjected to the political vengeance in the jails.

“Many political activists and the students have been detained in Udhampur District Jail under the lawless law Public Safety Act. Families of some Kashmiri detainees on Saturday came to the Hurriyat (G) head office and complained that a cop Nazir Ahmad deployed in the Udhampur Jail has made the lives of the Kashmiri prisoners a hell and he is harassing them in every possible ways. Besides this the prisoners are treated like animals in the district jail and they are kept in separate and dark cells the Kashmiri prisoners are forced to do hard labour there and on the refusal, they are being subjected to the custodial violence,” Hurriyat (G) had said in a statement issued on Saturday.

It is important to mention here that most of the Kashmiris arrested for alleged anti-India activities in Valley are shifted to other jails in the Jammu division which are 300 km far from the valley, thus depriving their families of easily arranging meetings with them.

Meanwhile, repeated attempts to reach Jail Superintendent for his side of version remained futile as TCN calls remained unanswered.