Nearly 20% of the 290 complaints filed by jail inmates with the National Human Rights Commission are from Punjab.(HT file photo for representational purpose only)
Nearly 20% of the 290 complaints filed by jail inmates with the National Human Rights Commission are from Punjab.(HT file photo for representational purpose only)

Punjab prisons see maximum human rights violation complaints in country

NCRB REPORT 2019 The national and state human rights commissions received the highest number of complaints of cruelty and denial of lawful rights of inmates from Punjab in 2019
Hindustan Times, Jalandhar | By Gagandeep Jassowal
UPDATED ON SEP 01, 2020 12:19 PM IST

Punjab jails are the worst in the country when it comes to protecting human rights of prisoners, if the number of complaints filed by inmates is of any indication.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau’s recently released report for 2019, the national and state human rights commissions received the highest number of complaints of cruelty and denial of lawful rights of inmates from Punjab in 2019.

The state has 24 prisons where 24,174 inmates, including 8,172 convicts and 15,949 undertrials, are lodged against the capacity of 23,488 prisoners, it says.

Nearly 20 percent of a total of 290 complaints filed by the inmates with the NHRC are from Punjab.

Also, 180 such complaints were received by the Punjab State Human Rights Commission from prisoners, 38 percent of the total received by all state-level commissions across the country.

In terms of pending complaints with the NHRC, the highest (59 of 101) were from Punjab. Of a total of 464 complaints pending with all state-level rights commissions, the maximum 103 were with the Punjab body.

HAD SECOND HIGHEST

NUMBER OF CLASHES

The report highlighted that Punjab along with Madhya Pradesh witnessed the second-highest number of clashes or group clashes in the country after Delhi.

While the two states recorded 25 incidents each, the national capital had 57 incidents. Interestingly, Punjab was the only state that reported an incident of firing in prison that year. Also, 49 prisoners and 12 jail staff were injured in clashes in Punjab jails, after Delhi where 92 inmates got injured.

MOST UNNATURAL DEATHS

OF INMATES AFTER UP

The report reveals that 137 deaths, including 117 natural and 20 unnatural, occurred in the Punjab jails in 2019. The number of unnatural deaths of inmates was highest after Uttar Pradesh where 29 such incidents were reported.

As many as 13 inmates committed suicides in the state’s prisons, again the second highest across the country after UP (20).

Two prisoners each were murdered by fellow inmates in the jails of Punjab and Haryana, the highest figure for the prisons of all the states. The report underlines the fact that Punjab reported the highest number of deaths due to HIV the same year. The state reported 9 deaths due to HIV of a total of 41 such deaths across the country’s jails.

The data also shows that Punjab has the highest number of inmates at 272 (21 convicts and 251 undertrials) in youth detention centres (borstal schools) across the country. In 2019, of a total of 26,390 persons released on parole, maximum 7,973 were from Punjab, followed by Madhya Pradesh (3,663).

IT’S A FASHION TO FILE PLAINTS

IN PUNJAB, SAYS ADGP JAILS

Additional director general of police (ADGP jails) Praveen Kumar Sinha said it is a fashion in Punjab to file complaints. “Merely filing of complaints don’t establish the fact that there have been human rights violations of inmates in the prisons. Not even a single complaint did go unattended whether it was probed by judicial officers, senior jails officials or police,” said Sinha. On the deaths due to HIV, Sinha said the most victims were drug addicts who used syringes of each other for substance abuse and ended up infecting others.

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