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RTI reveals that 90 per cent prisoners are undertrial in J&K

Last Updated on December 10, 2020 at 6:48 pm

Jails throughout the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir are overflowing with prisoners beyond their holding capacity. Around 90 per cent of those who are jailed are undertrials. The Kashmir Walla has found that less than two per cent of all persons who were arrested in militancy-related cases have been convicted.

Tajamul Islam and Aabid Mushtaq, of the University of Kashmir’s Law Department, filed an RTI request in whose response these revelations were made by the Director-General of Police (DGP), Prisons Department, Jammu and Kashmir (J-K).

Data states that 4,131 prisoners — 4,005 men and 126 women — are present in jails across J-K as of 6 December 2020. 3,735 are currently undertrial, 747 have been arrested in militancy-related cases and only 1.8 per cent of these individuals have been convicted. Overall, 90.4 per cent of the total prisoners are still undergoing trials.

The highest number of prisoners in J&K, 709, are held by the Central Jail in Jammu’s Kot Balwal as of 6 December 2020. The most number of prisoners accused in militancy-related cases, 147, are lodged in Srinagar’s Central Jail.

Currently, 4,362 prisoners and detainees are held in J&K’s fourteen jails while the total intake capacity is 3,660. All jails are housing more inmates than their stated capacities in Jammu except the District Jails of Bhaderwah, Kishtwar; Sub-jail of Hiranagar; and the Kot Bhalwal Central Jail.

The office of the DGP said that it does not have concrete information about all the prisoners of J&K lodged in prisons outside the UT. The DGP office suggested that about forty-three prisoners are currently are in jails outside J&K, in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.

The 2019 National Crime Records Bureau states that the proportion of undertrials to convicted prisoners in J&K is much bigger than India’s national average of seventy per cent in all the jails.

Aabid Mushtaq, one of the RTI applicants, told The Kashmir Walla that The office of DGP, Prisons, Jammu didn’t transfer their application to the concerned department which is supposed to have the information of residents of J&K detained outside. He said that this is a complete violation of RTI rules under section 6 (3) and also the PIO (Public Information Officer). He raised the question that why is the department trying to hide the information.