SHRC seeks answers on JRL petition against shifting under-trials outside Kashmir

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SRINAGAR: The State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) on Monday issued notice to the Commissioner Secretary Home, J&K, and the Director General of Prisons, J&K, to file a compliance report before the Commission stating why prisoners are being shifted to outside jails.
The joint resistance leadership (JRL), comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik, had on March 2 submitted a petition before the SHRC against the shifting of prisoners from Kashmir jails to places outside the Valley.
The petition was submitted before the Commission in terms of the J&K Protection of Human Rights Act, 1997, for human rights violations against detenues and shifting of under-trial prisoners, lifers and political prisoners. The petition states that an incident took place last month at Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) Hospital, wherein a detenue under police custody escaped when he was being taken for a medical check-up. Due to the said event, the petition says, prisoners at large are being subjected to harassment, mental torture and agony, and as such human rights violations are being committed with evil motive.
The petition further states that there is a glaring violation done in utter disregard of human rights, the judicial pronouncement, the jail manual and the procedures laid down for handling under-trials, detenues and sentenced persons.
The under-trials, who are presumed to be innocent beyond doubt, are held under various FIRs and face trial before various courts in whose territorial jurisdiction they are detained. One such example of glaring violation is to be seen in a case under FIR no. 51 of 2017 of Police Station Nowhatta, Srinagar, wherein 24 young boys below the age of 30 years have been falsely implicated as per an evil design in what is actually political vendetta. The trial of the said case is pending before 4th Additional Sessions Court, Srinagar. It is a well-recognised law that under-trials have to be kept near the court where their trial shall speedily be taken up. In utter violation of basic human rights and disregard of the law guaranteed under the Jammu and Kashmir Protection of Human Rights Act, 1997, the under-trials have been shifted to jails more than 300 kilometres away from the places where their trials are being conducted.
“In the light of the above submissions and facts, we seek the intervention of this commission for initiation of inquiry into the gross human rights violations by delivering justice to these inmates,” the petition states.