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Thursday, August 18, 2022

Kashmir: 23 prisoners Covid-19 positive as call to release political inmates gets louder

As many as 23 prisoners are Covid-19 positive in Jammu & Kashmir and 219 inmates are under quarantine across prisons as new prisoners undergo mandatory Covid-19 testing and isolation for 14 days.

According to an official handout released by the government, 4572 inmates are lodged in the 13 jails of J&K.

“Of which, 23 inmates (21 from district jail Kathua, one from central jail Jammu, Kot Bhalwal and 1 from district jail Jammu) are COVID positive to whom necessary medical care is being provided,” reads the handout.

It further states, 219 inmates are under quarantine across prisons of J&K as new prisoners undergo mandatory Covid-19 testing and quarantine for 14 days.

According to the statement, a day prior to relinquishing the charge, VK Singh, DGP, Prisons, J&K visited Central Jail Srinagar to resolve last-minute issues including a parole case.

“At present, 635 inmates are lodged in the Central Jail Srinagar which included 27 female inmates and there is no Covid-19 positive case in the jail,” the statement reads.

It further states that DG directed the staff for strict adherence to SOPs issued to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in jails.

In the midst of a raging Covid-19 pandemic, major political groups of Jammu and Kashmir, the Kashmir High Court Bar Association, civil society coalitions and family members of incarcerated political prisoners of the region have renewed their demands for the immediate release of leaders languishing behind bars.

The demand has gathered pace following the demise of 77-year-old imprisoned Mohammad Ashraf Khan aka Sehrai, chairperson of the pro-resolution amalgam Tehreek-i-Hurriyat (TeH), at a hospital in Jammu on May 5.

Sehrai’s health condition had deteriorated at the Udhampur Jail where he was lodged under the Public Safety Act (PSA) since the middle of the last year. He was a close aide of the ailing pro-independence politician, Syed Ali Geelani.

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