Saima Bhat

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Kashmir Bar Association on Monday said the inmates of central jail in Udhampur and various other jails were subjected to various kinds of torture. The association claimed the authorities had prevented various separatist leaders held at these jails from offering prayers.

A team constituted by the association visited central jail Udhampur, Kote Balwal jail and Hira Nagar sub jail on Oct 1 to access the situation of various detainees lodged there. The association issued a statement on Monday in which they blamed the jail authorities of preventing the detainees from offering prayers in groups and compelling them to sing India’s national anthem.

During their visit to Udhampur jail, the team met firebrand separatist leader, Masarat Alam who was arrested in 2010 and Mushtaq-ul-Islam, the president of Muslim League. “The superintendent did not allow them to offer prayers in groups. The authorities had removed Quran and Nimazrad (prayer mat) from their cells and they were instead forced to offer prayers on blankets which were not clean,” the statement issued by the Bar read.

The team also visited Kote Balwal jail and Hira Nagar sub jail in Jammu and they are going to compile a full report on their visit. “We talked to the superintendent jail, Dr Vinod Kumar, about the allegations to which he had replied, ‘The Quran and Nimazrad were removed from the possession of each intimate by the orders of the District Judge and SSP Udhampur.’ The intimates who are not medically fit are being made to go for daily drill, particularly the intimates who are booked under the PSA,” the Bar alleged.

The team alleged the jail authorities had tortured Mushtaq ul Islam allegedly in presence of SP jail on Sept 15 when he had refused to come out from his barrack for drill. “The CRPF personnel were called in by the SP who assaulted Mushtaq. He sustained some injuries on his head to which he was given inadequate treatment. He was also put in solitary confinement cell for 21 days, which was having a commode but no door or curtain in front which has added to his humiliations,” the Bar said.

“The violence perpetuated by the SP did not only extend to the intimates booked under the PSA but an undertrial namely Harya from Jammu, who is facing trial, was subjected to third degree torture by inserting cane in his rectum” the team said. The intimates of Kotbalwal and Hiranagar jail have told the committee that the medical facilities should be upgraded and they should be produced before the courts where their cases are pending regularly.


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