Jammu: Eighteen Kashmiri prisoners, detained under stringent Public Safety Act, were released from different jails in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, while 36 others, whose detention orders have been revoked, are to be freed soon, officials said on Thursday.
In addition, 52 prisoners were released from various jails in Jammu and Kashmir over the past few days, taking the total number of released inmates in the Union Territory to decongest prisons to save them from turning into fertile grounds for COVID-19 to 288, the officials said.
A number of persons were arrested under the PSA and shifted outside J&K in August last year following nullification of Article 370 and bifurcation of the erstwhile state into two UTs.
On April 1, a three-member high powered committee headed by Executive Chairman of J-K State Legal Services Authority, Justice Rajesh Bindal along with Principal Secretary (Home) Shaleen Kabra and DGP (Prisons) V K Singh as its members, passed directions for the release of jail inmates except those involved in militancy related cases to decongest prisons in the UT.
The committee was constituted by the J&K government following a Supreme Court n order on March 23, directing the states and the UTs to decongest jails to ensure social distancing among prisoners.
The apex court had issued the order, observing that overcrowding of prisons is a matter of serious concern in the wake of coronavirus outbreak.
The officials said a total of 54 PSA detention orders were revoked this month as on April 23, of whom 18 detenues were released by Wednesday. They included 13 from four jails in Uttar Pradesh and five from two jails in Haryana.
The process is on to ensure the release of the other PSA detainees, they said, adding eight detenues were released from Central Jail Agra (UP), three from district prison Jhajjar (Haryana), two each from district jail Bareilly (UP), district jail Ambedkar Nagar (UP) and district prison Karnal (Haryana) and one from Central jail Varanasi (UP).
The PSA detenues whose detention orders have been revoked include 33 in Central Jail Agra, seven in district jail Ambedkar Nagar, four each in district jail Bareilly and Central jail Varanasi, three in district prison Jhajjar, two in district prison Karnal and one in Central jail Naini-Allahabad (UP), the officials said.
They said the release of the prisoners took time as authorities had to prepare movement passes for their close relatives to bring them back in view of the ongoing lockdown across the country.
The officials said 52 prisoners including four PSA detainees and 10 undertrials were also released from different jails in Jammu and Kashmir from April 18 to 22, taking the number of prisoners who were released this month to 288.
Six of the 52 prisoners were released on parole, the officials said.
While nine were released from Central jail Kot Bhalwal and district jail Jammu each, eight were released from Central jail Srinagar, seven each from district jail Baramulla and special jail (correctional home) Pulwama, six from district jail Kupwara, three from district jail Rajouri, two from sub-jail Hiranagar and one from district jail Anatnang.
Earlier, 236 prisoners were released from various jails between April 1 and 17. They included 61 prisoners arrested under the PSA, 82 undertrials through the undertrial review committee, 11 undertrials falling under section 107, 109, 151 of the CrPC besides 18 prisoners who were released on parole.
Out of the total 288, the officials said the highest number of 55 jail inmates were released from Central jail Srinagar followed by 48 from Central Jail Kot Bhalwal, 31 from district jail Rajouri and 29 from district jail Jammu.
The other released prisoners include 28 from district jail Anantnag, 22 from district jail Kupwara, 20 from district jail Udhampur, 19 each from special jail Pulwama and sub-jail Hiranagar, nine from district jail Baramulla, and four each form district jail Bhaderwah and district jail Kathua. PTI