In the past five years, as many as 556 inmates have died in the jails of Punjab. Surprisingly, the reason behind many of the deaths is not known.
Most deaths (154) were reported in Amritsar central jail, while 70 inmates lost their lives in Ludhiana central jail in the period January 2010 to December 2014.
These facts have been revealed in reply to an RTI application filed by Rajdeep Singh, president of the human rights wing of the organisation Rashtra Dharam.
Rajdeep has collected the data about the deaths in all seven central jails, five district jails, 10 sub-jails, one women’s jail and a juvenile home in the state.
In reply, the Amritsar jail authorities have claimed that all 154 inmates -- 75 convicts and 79 undertrials – had died of illness. In Ludhiana central jail, the reason behind the death of 47 inmates is not known as the reports of the viscera examination are still awaited. Two inmates had hanged themselves in this jail in the past five years. Three deaths have been reported from the Borstal jail in Ludhiana during this period.
No deaths have been reported in the women’s jail in Ludhiana, the sub-jail, Dasuya, the open jail, Nabha, and the juvenile home in Ludhiana.
Rajdeep said the state of affairs showed that health facilities were not available in jails, a violation of human rights. If there were no medical facilities in jails, why the jail officials in these cases had not shifted the inmates to hospitals in time, he wondered.
Rajdeep said he would take up the matter with the Punjab Human Rights Commission in case the jail department did not do anything about the medical facilities in jails.
Inmate hanged self in Ludhiana jail last month
Inmate Kamaljeet Singh, 37, a resident of Khamanchu village in Banga of Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar (Nawanshahr) district, had committed suicide by hanging himself in the bathroom of the Ludhiana central jail on February 1 this year. The deceased was convicted in a case of dowry death. A judicial inquiry was marked to probe the case.