Bhopal: Human rights groups ask for compliance of directives about wellness of prisoners

Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): Following persistent complaints of torture and denial of basic rights of prisoners in Bhopal Central Jail, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued fresh directions to state government regarding compliance with its recommendations. Representatives of human rights groups met the chief secretary Iqbal Singh Bains and DG (Prisons) Arvind Kumar urging action and compliance with NHRC recommendations.

The delegation comprised Madhuri Krishnaswami (PUCL), Abdul Wahid Shaikh (Innocence Network), Masood Ahmed (Coordination Committee) and Fawaz Shaheen (Innocence Network).

The NHRC had conducted an investigation in June 2017 and found instances of torture and abuse of prisoners and denial of basic rights to a group of prisoners accused of SIMI related offences. The investigation team had recommended action against jail officials, compensation to family members as well as several measures to ensure basic necessities to prisoners.

However, the state government has not complied with NHRC directives despite several reminders. In proceedings on 25 March, 2021, NHRC has once again noted that there are serious human rights violations and that all the recommendations of the inquiry team should be complied with state authorities’ while directing chief secretary to file a report within 6 weeks.

The NHRC had also taken suo moto cognisance of the hunger strike by seven prisoners and expressed serious concern.

The NHRC investigation had found evidence of physical assault, illegal solitary confinement, mental torture through sleep deprivation, criminal intimidation and religious antagonism, denial of basic necessities like adequate water, adequate clothing and medical care. They had no access to newspapers, books, pen, paper, etc. They were not allowed to meet visitors according to norms.

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