Tihar Jail staff suspended for ‘thrashing’ Kashmiri prisoners

Srinagar: Authorities Friday suspended all Tihar prison staff, allegedly involved in thrashing of inmates on November 21. The development comes following uproar over the beating of 18 prisoners by Tamil Nadu Special Force, a media report said.

According to the report, the jail authorities sent a detailed report to the Union Home Ministry (MHA) on Wednesday. The MHA official said that a fact-finding team, headed by a district judge rank officer, has been constituted to investigate the incident and another committee, led by Tamil Nadu special force commandant, will probe lapses on the part of the force personnel.

The development comes after a huge furore was witnessed regarding the plight of prisoners in the jails outside the state. Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had also raised the issue with Union home secretary Rajiv Gauba earlier this week.

Among the prisoners who were assaulted were Shahid Yousuf, son of Hizbul Chief Syed Salluadhin.

Shahid, who is under judicial custody for allegedly ‘terror funding’ was arrested by the investigation agency NIA on October 24. The family had demanded that Shahid be shifted to Srinagar Central jail as they fear for his life in jails outside the state.

Another Kashmiri prisoner Ahtesham Ahmad was also assaulted inside the Tihar jail on November 21. The local court in Sopore directed the authorities to shift Ahmed to a hospital for treatment after he appeared at the court in an injured condition.

Pertinently, Mehbooba Mufti has termed the manhandling of prisoners at Tihar Jail as unacceptable and shameful.

“The recent incident of manhandling of prisoners at Tihar Jail is unacceptable and shameful. By getting involved in such an act the personnel involved have not only brought disrespect to their State but to their fraternity as well,” Mehbooba had said.

Opposition National Conference leader and Parliament member from Srinagar Farooq Abdullah had asked the Chief Minister to visit the Tihar jail and start the process of shifting of inmates to jails within the state.

“Chief Minister was morally bound to ensure their safety and welfare and these prisoners should immediately be shifted to jails within the State. The Chief Minister should immediately visit Tihar Jail and ensure their safety and also initiate a process of shifting these prisoners back to jails within the State while the cases against them are processed,” Farooq said.

Importantly, the separatist leaders have also condemned the assault on the prisoners in Tihar.  The Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) comprising of Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik said that the ghastly act has put the lives of all Kashmiri political prisoners at risk.

They also appealed international organizations including United Nations, Human Rights Commission, Asia Watch and Amnesty International for their cognizance, JRL stressed to take notice of the inhuman and hostile treatment meted out to detainees lodged in Tihar jail.


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