Inmates at Tihar Jail under constant fear of getting killed: Report

New Delhi, January 30, 2018 (PPI-OT): A report compiled by the Delhi High Court while confirming inhuman torture on Shahid Yousuf, the son of prominent Kashmiri freedom leader Syed Salahuddin, has said that the prisoners lodged in infamous Tihar Jail are living under constant fear of getting killed on one pretext or the other. The report has been prepared by a three-member committee, which was constituted by Delhi High Court on November 23 to study the plight of prisoners at New Delhi’s Tihar Jail.

The committee has painted a grim picture about the plight of prisoners. On November 21, last year, four Kashmiris were among the several prisoners who were tortured and thrashed by the personnel of Tamil Nadu Special Police (TSP). The incident triggered massive resentment in the wake of grave injuries inflicted on the Kashmiri prisoners, Shahid Yousuf, Ahtesham Farooq, Mushtaq Ahmed Lone and Showkat Ahmed.

The report has been prepared by Advocate Legal Aid, Harsh Prabhakar; Joint Registrar Rules, Reeteb Singh; and Registrar Appellate, Lemtren Bamniyal. “The prisoners in the high risk ward, especially those in ward C and ward F are living in a state of fear. They apprehend that they might be killed at one or the other pretext,” said the report published in the media. It maintained that the November 21 incident and the severity of the physical assault on the inmates has shaken them.

“The handling of the incident by the Tamil Nadu Special Police (TSP) as well as by the Assistant Superintendent cannot be justified in any manner,” the report added. It further said, “The committee feels that the incident of thrashing of inmates is a gross violation of fundamental, human and other legal rights of prisoners who have been subjected to severe physical torture without any justifiable reason.”

“The Committee expressed its desire to first meet Shahid Yousuf, whose (blood-soaked) vest was submitted to the court. Yousuf was found housed in the Cell C-9(1) and was injured,” the report read. It said that at around 9:15 pm, the TSP personnel, who had earlier come for checking, entered the ‘C’ ward in large numbers, started beating the inmates with sticks or whatever else came in their hands.

“Yousuf stated that he was hit on his head many times consequent whereto he started bleeding. He informed that he also sustained injuries on his back and left hand. He complained of having pain in his left shoulder,” the report said.

It is to mention here that several Hurriyat leaders arrested and booked by India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) in false cases have been lodged in Tihar jail. These leaders include Shabbir Ahmed Shah, Altaf Ahmed Shah, Peer Saifullah, Merajuddin Kalwal, Ayaz Muhammad Akbar, Shahid-ul-Islam, Nayeem Ahmed Khan and Farooq Ahmed Dar. A Kashmiri businessman, Zahoor Watali, and a photojournalist, Kamran Yousuf, are also lodged in the notorious jail.

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