New Delhi: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has condemned the killing of a Pakistani national, who was serving life sentence in the Jaipur Central Jail, in a brawl with other prisoners and served notices to the Rajasthan government and the state prison authorities.
The commission observed that it is “immaterial whether the victim was an Indian citizen or a foreigner, he was a human being”. The Supreme Court has also held in Charles Sobhraj vs Superintendent of Central Jail, Tihar that imprisonment does not spell farewell to fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution.
“Once someone is kept in the custody of the state, even in a jail, being a lawful custodian, the state is duty bound to ensure his safety and security,” the NHRC said in a statement issued on Thursday.
Shakrullah (50), belonging to Lashkar-e-Taiba was allegedly murdered on Wednesday. The prisoners fought over TV volume and hit him with a large stone, police officials had said.
Describing the incident as inhuman, the commission said it “condemns all such incidents and has called for stringent action against the miscreants to ensure that right to life of prisoners is not violated while they are in lawful judicial custody”.
The commission has also issued notices to the Rajasthan chief secretary and the director general (prisons) of the state, seeking reports in four weeks.
“The Commission, on the basis of media reports, has also held that the authorities are expected to take immediate precautionary measures in the jails where Pakistani nationals are lodged in the wake of prevailing atmosphere,” it said.
The NHRC has also directed its registry to send a copy of the proceeding in this matter to the chief secretaries of all states and Union Territories across the country for “strict compliance” and “taking necessary action” in their respective states, the statement said.
The commission said it had also noted the reported allegations, levelled by the Pakistan government, that the inmate was “killed in retaliation to the Pulwama attack” and the denial of the charges by the state prison authorities.
Keeping in view the timing of the incident, the allegations require to be looked into thoroughly, it stated.
The NHRC further observed that there have been many instances in India as well as Pakistan wherein citizens of other countries are targeted by native prisoners due to “anger and hatred”.
One Indian citizen, Sarabjit Singh, who was serving his sentence in a Pakistan jail, was also attacked in a similar manner. He succumbed to injuries during the course of treatment, it said.
These kinds of incidents may aggravate the grim situation, violating the human rights of the innocent citizens, particularly of those lodged in jails, the commission said.
Shakrullah, a resident of Sialkot in Pakistan’s Punjab, was arrested in 2011 under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for running a module to radicalise local youth with support and guidance of Pakistan-based handlers. —PTI