Members of High Court Bar Association found many prisoners inside the Central Jail Srinagar “tense”, “terrified” and “subdued” following recent violence inside the prison.
Senior members of HCBA Srinagar visited the prison Thursday evening to inquire about the condition of inmates following a violent confrontation with security forces on April 5.
Their visit came after directions by the chief judicial magistrate, Srinagar, to jail authorities to permit and facilitate the visit of the HCBA members to the jail.
“They (jail inmates) feel that they will not be allowed any opportunity of proving their innocence before any enquiry officer which may be ordered in the matter or in the court of law. They feel they may be shifted to some jail outside the state so as to prolong their trial and detention in jail,” the HCBA report says.
The prisoners have demanded the whole incident of April 5 be enquired by the High Court and be supervised by a sitting judge.
The HCBA report says the prisoners also demand the FIR registered against them by the jail authorities is “an attempt to victimize them (and) should not be allowed to be investigated until the enquiry is completed by the High Court.”
The inmates also want they should be allowed to file a counter FIR and the members of International Red Cross, SHRC, IHRC, Amnesty International and Asia Watch be allowed to visit the jail at the earliest “before the evidence available on the spot is destroyed”.
“They stated that if their demands are not met some of them are ready to commit suicide inside the jail, the responsibility of which shall be solely on the jail authorities (sic),” the HCBA team reported.
The team found that after the April 5 incident there has been a communication breakdown between the inmates and the jail administration.
“For the last ten days, the inmates are not meeting any of the visitors or relatives. The inmates are also not being provided any newspaper or access to any media like TV or radio. They had also refused to come out and meet some lawyers.”
“The inmates, who were 15 in number, met the Bar team, were tense, terrified and somewhat subdued,” the report reads.
According to the HCBA report, 17-year-old Abid Kachru received pellet injuries in his eyes during security forces action inside jail and had to be operated upon days later by doctors.
Another inmate, Mukhtar Ahmad was seriously injured due to beating and has been recommended for shoulder shaft replacement by the doctors. Jail inmates, as per report, have attributed the blaze inside the prison on April 5 to “teargas shells fired by security forces.”
“The HCBA has decided to submit this report before the chief judicial magistrate Srinagar on 13 April 2019,” advocate Aijaz Bedar, vice president HCBA told Greater Kashmir.
HCBA members who visited jail comprised bar vice president Aijaz Bedar, general secretary Muhammad Ashraf Bhat, joint secretary, Adil Asimi and executive members Rafiq Ahmad Joo and Arshad Andrabi.