The High Court Bar Association constituted different teams of lawyers, who visited various jails of Jammu district and after meeting with the prisoners submitted a report to the Bar Association, in occupied Kashmir.
The HCBA members Bilal Ahmad Wani, Shabbir Ahmad Butt and Hamid Shafi visited the Kathua Jail in Jammu on January 3 and found that the prison authorities were not providing proper medical facilities to the detainees. They found that there was no heating arrangement in the barracks where the prisoners had been lodged due to which the condition of the inmates suffering from various ailments had deteriorated.
According to Kashmir Media Service, the prisoners also informed the team members that they were not being produced before the courts. The detainees also told the team members that there was no ambulance facility available in the Jail and no qualified doctor was posted permanently in the jail.
The Bar members visited Kot Bhalwal Jail in Jammu on January 07 and interacted with the twenty six prisoners. The team members in their report said that the jail authorities were not providing proper food and medicines to the detainees. They said most of the under-trials complained that if two family members desire to meet the inmates, only one of them is allowed to meet.
The team members informed the jail authorities about the problems being faced by the prisoners regarding their non-production in the courts and the delay caused in the trial of the cases but the jail authorities told the team members that it was not their duty to take any prisoner to any court.
The team members visited Udhampur Jail, Jammu, on January 8 and found that no proper medical facilities were available to the prisoners and no qualified doctor was posted in the jail for providing proper treatment to them.
The team members visited Heera Nagar Jail of Jammu on January 9 and found that the jail had been virtually converted into a police station as the person appointed as jail superintendent was from police department. All the detainees lodged in the jail complained to the team members that there was shortage of space in the jail to accommodate the detainees and the under-trial prisoners and the barracks were also not properly maintained.
It was also told to the team members that they were not provided proper food and medicine. The unhygienic food prepared by the jail authorities was being provided to all the prisoners, which had caused serious ailments to the detainees. The team members were also informed that whenever a complaint about the ailment was made to the jail authorities, the prisoners were not taken to the hospital or to any doctor for treatment.
One of the detainees, Fayaz Ahmad, who has received a firearm injury and had been operated upon thrice in Kashmir valley, before his detention, had complained to the jail authorities that he needed proper care by a qualified doctor but he was not taken to any hospital. The team members brought it in the notice of the jail authorities and requested them to give him appropriate treatment in any hospital but they did not pay any heed to their request.
The team members visited Amphalla Jail, Jammu, on January 10 and found that the common problem faced by all the prisoners was that they were not being provided medical treatment. The detainees also complained to the lawyers’ team that the cases were pending against them in different courts of the valley but they were not produced before the courts.
A lawyers’ team comprised Mohammad Ashraf Butt, Adil Omar Asimi, Arshad Andrabi and Bashir Siddiq visited New Delhi’s Tihar Jail on January 14. Although the Bar members had obtained permission from the High Court to meet the prisoners belonging to Kashmir valley but faced difficulties to meet the prisoners in the jail.
In the Tihar Jail, the Bar members met illegally detained Hurriyat leaders and activists, Aasiya Andrabi, Nahida Nasreen, Fahmeeda Sofi, Muzaffar Ahmad Dar, Feroz Ahmed, Zahoor Ahmed Watali, Shahid-ul-Islam, Ghulam Muhammad Butt, Parvez Ahmad Mir and Feroz Ahmad Butt and found that they were not being produced before the courts.
The HCBA team also noticed that the Kashmiri prisoners lodged in Tihar Jail were being kept in high security wards and they are not given the same treatment provided to other prisoners lodged in other barracks of the jail. The inmates complained that they were not allowed to take any food item inside the jail brought by their family members. The detainees told the Bar team that they were not being provided medical and other facilities.