J&K prisoners in UP jails facing severe depression

Prabhat Ranjan Deen
LUCKNOW, Sept 3: The prisoners shifted from Jammu and Kashmir to Uttar Pradesh last month after abrogation of Article 370, are facing severe depression in different jails of UP.
The Yogi Government has taken this issue very seriously and ordered the jail authorities to take proper care of the prisoners. Team of doctors, including Physicians and Psychiatrists are now taking care of these Kashmiri prisoners.
A senior officer of Jail Department confirming the news told the Excelsior that the prisoners shifted from J&K have been kept in isolation to avoid interaction or clash with other prisoners. They have been kept in separate high security barracks and are mainly confined in Agra, Varanasi, Fatehpur, Lucknow and Bareilly jails.
The Chief Medical Officer of Lucknow, Dr Narendra Aggrawal said that the team of doctors was trying its level best to get the prisoners out of depression. These prisoners from J&K have now started yoga also, after initiation of jail authority, he added.
It may be mentioned that after Central Government’s decision to repeal Article 370, the prisoners, allegedly linked with different separatist groups and some terrorist organizations, languishing in different jails of J&K were immediately shifted to Tihar jail in Delhi and more than two hundred prisoners were sent to UP jails.
An officer of Lucknow Jail said that the complete change of climate was also troubling the Kashmiri prisoners. The humid and hot climate here in UP is tough to face, especially for the prisoners, who have come from entirely different climatic atmosphere. The jail administration admitted that separate air condition machines can’t be arranged for the Kashmiri prisoners in such a huge number and moreover the jail manual also does not allow the same.
However, jail authorities have made arrangements of fan and coolers for the Kashmiri prisoners to avoid fall of their health condition. But this ‘special’ arrangement is somehow irritating and annoying other prisoners thus creating a tough task to be tackled by the authorities. The security has also been tightened and extra battalions of PAC have been deployed in these jails.
The system of meeting with the prisoners has also been changed, particularly for the Kashmiri prisoners. A senior officer of State Home Department, said, “keeping in view of the sensitivity, jail authority has been directed to introduce a stiff system of ‘mulakat’ (meeting). Only close family members of the prisoners are allowed to meet, but before that, their identities are being checked by J&K Police and after getting confirmation from there, we allow the relatives to meet these inmates.”
The officer further said that the food arrangements for the Kashmiri prisoners have also been made separately and they are not allowed to go to the usual dining space, used by other prisoners. Food is served to Kashmiri prisoners in their barracks itself and they are prohibited to meet other prisoners in the jail.
DIG Prison Sanjeev Tripathi acknowledged that biggest challenge because of shifting of Kashmiri prisoners in the UP jails was the separate management for them and obviously the prisoners already there were facing the problem.
A senior jail official said that 24-hour guards have been posted outside the barracks where Kashmiri prisoners are kept and bunkers have also been made outside the prison to deter any breakout attempts. The Kashmiri prisoners are also allowed to offer the ‘jumme ki namaz’ on Friday in the open, under the strict vigilance of security guards. Additional forces, Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and SWAT teams are also posted outside the jail.
The identities of the shifted prisoners were not disclosed, but jail officials say that few prisoners are dreaded terrorists and separatists, but some others are ‘stone throwers’ and hooligans, who worked on the behest of the so called big separatist leaders.
The J&K prisoners shifted to UP include Miyan Qayum, Mubin Shah, Ali Mohammad Sagar and others.