Jail inmates call off hunger strike Bar condemns crackdowns, nocturnal raids, searches

SRINAGAR, Nov 5: Inmates in Baramulla district jail have called off their five-day long hunger strike, a statement issued by High Court Bar Association issued here said.

A team of HCBA had visited the inmates in Baramulla jail to know the facts and reasons behind the hunger strike. The visit of Bar team, according to HCBA general secretary Bashir Sidiq, was prompted by the newspaper reports that “the inmates of District Jail Baramulla have gone on hunger strike on account of having been thrashed by the jail staff and the police, for protesting against the failure of the jail authorities to provide them medical aid and assistance”.

“A five member team of J&K High Court Bar Association headed by Bashir Sidiq, General Secretary HCBA visited District jail Baramulla on 04.11.2016 and after they were permitted to meet the inmates, had a detailed interaction with them, in presence of the jail staff,” reads the statement issued by HCBA.

The jail inmates went on a hunger strike on November 1 evening, after several prisoners including some police personnel were injured during clashes between police and jail inmates inside jail. They are demanding impartial probe in the matter.

Besides Sidiq, the Bar team comprised of Anwar-ul-Islam Shaheen, Joint Secretary, Arshid Andrabi, Bilal Ahmad Wani and Nasir Qadri, dvocates.

“The bar team requested the inmates to break their hunger strike as it was only going to harm them. It was with great persuasion that the inmates agreed to call off their hunger strike. The team members assured the prisoners that they will take up their issues before the High Court and obtain orders for the redressal of their grievances,” Sidiq told Kashmir Times.

According to HCBA team, there are 129 prisoners in Baramulla Jail out of whom 9 are females. “There are 16 PSA detenues out of whom 2 are females. The remaining are undertrial prisoners.”

According to Sidiq, since the escort has not been provided by the police, therefore, the prisoners have not been taken to the courts on the dates fixed in their cases. “It was admitted (by jail authorities) that the non-taking of the prisoners to the courts in connection with the cases pending against them has violated their basic rights of fair and speedy trial, which has added to their frustration and agony.”

Meanwhile, the Bar Association has strongly condemned the off and on crackdowns, nocturnal raids, house to house searches, ‘in which innocent people mostly youngsters are arrested and later detained in police lockups or interrogation centres and the household and belonging of the people is thrown away and when they protest against the said highhandedness of the forces, they are beaten and tortured and even bullets and pellets are showered upon them, which either results in their death or else renders them blind or maimed.’

“During the nocturnal raids the ruthless forces also resort to loot and plunder and sometimes they set the properties on fire,” this was stated by the members of the Executive Committee of the Bar Association, in a meeting held here today.

According to Sidiq, the members of Bar were unanimous in stating that the ruthless forces have let loose a reign of terror in the State of J&K and no one is safe here. “These forces can arrest and detain anyone and slap on him any provision of any Draconian Act and even sent him to jail under the Draconian Public Safety Act, in-disregard of his age, health and stature.”

News Updated at : Sunday, November 6, 2016