Amid the hue and cry over a Pakistani military court’s decision to execute former Indian Navy personnel Kulbhushan Jadhav, an RTI activist has initiated an effort to know the current status of other Indian prisoners languishing in jails across the border.
Pradeep Kumar, who is also an associate professor with the department of law in Bareilly College, has approached the ministry of external affairs, through an RTI plea, to know about others ‘Jadhavs’ in Pakistan jail.
When in 2013 Kumar had moved a similar plea, he was told that as many as 224 civilian Indian prisoners and 212 fishermen were lodged in Pakistan jails.
Interestingly, while the government now is making all efforts to get Jadhav free, the external affairs ministry had then admitted the fact the government of India was providing “no legal aid” to free these prisoners.
“While the Pakistan government’s stand on Jadhav’s case is inhuman and unethical, I am not sure what efforts we had initiated back then to get him and other Indian prisoners free,” said Kumar whose RTI plea had played a crucial role in the release of Indian prisoner Yashpal from Pakistan way back in 2013.
Yashpal was lodged in Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore and his release was initiated only after the activist highlighted his plight through the information he managed to get via the RTI. With Jadhav case in focus now, Kumar on Tuesday filed a fresh RTI asking the ministry of external affairs to make public the list of Indian prisoners and their status in Pakistani jails.
“I have asked them the details like total number of Indian prisoners in all jails across Pakistan, their names, addresses, status of nationality, sentence awarded and date of completion of sentence,” Kumar told Hindustan Times.
In the RTI, he has also sought to know the numbers of Indian prisoners acquitted by Pakistan.
“I have also sought to know as to how many unsound Indian prisoners are lodged there and what legal aid is being provided to such undertrials,” said Kumar.
On his 2013 RTI plea, the ministry of external affairs had revealed that as many as 224 civilians and 212 fishermen were lodged in Pakistan Jail.
Of the total 224 civilians, according to the RTI, the Pakistan authorities have acknowledged only 55 Indian prisoners.