Bizarre Step

Bizarre Step
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The shifting of political prisoners from Kashmir to Jammu, in the nature of a bizarre step, has been taken after an incarcerated militant escaped from police custody. In essence, this particular measure amounts to penalizing the entire class of incarcerated political prisoners for the escape of the militant in contention. Besides being fundamentally unfair, the shifting has obvious logistical problems and issues. For example, prisoners have families. Being in prison, by its very nature, entails the painful separation from families, near and dear ones. But, given that these prisoners were in Kashmir, their families could see them. But, now if the prisoners are in Jammu, the distance will entail and add intensely to the costs of meeting and seeing their families and loved ones. Moreover, these prisoners could meet hostility in Jammu jails, on account of a whole host of reasons. In terms of the rationale and reasons for shifting prisoners to Jammu, it would appear that it is administratively convenient for powers that be. That is, there is less likelihood of loop holes and leakages in Jammu because jail authorities there are not likely to be sympathetic to them. If this assertion holds, then the obvious inference that can be drawn is that powers that be do not entirely trust jail authorities in Kashmir. To obviate this, their preferred solution is shifting the prisoners to Jammu. While the legal basis and premise for this step and measure is unclear, but from a pure common sensical perspective, this particular decision may not stand scrutiny. Taking recourse to the corpus of legal theory, the fact is that prisoners have rights to and the administration is duty bound to protect the rights and welfare of prisoners. In the case in contention, the step to shift the prisoners to Jammu is , in no way welfare enhancing; it is, to the contrary, welfare diminishing. So, in the interest of prisoners’ rights , the protection of their overall welfare, the safety of their person, the administration must reconsider its decision of prisoner shifting. Administrative and management convenience cannot and must not constitute the grounds for this rather rough measure. Moreover, it stands to reason , for powers that be, to actually understand the reasons for swelling and growing number of political prisoners in Kashmir. These numbers accrue from the conflict in Kashmir. The best, prudent and far sighted measure, instead of administrative artifices , would be to look into the causes and not merely effects.

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