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Tuesday, July 07, 2020

‘Stripped, beaten’ in prison: Two Gurdaspur jail undertrials submit complaint

The undertrials, Sajad Hussain and Irshad Ahmad, have alleged continuous harassment inside the prison on account of their religious identity. The jail superintendent however, denied the allegations.

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh | Published: June 17, 2020 10:29:51 pm
Explained: Why countries are releasing their prisoners amid COVID-19 The undertrials were called ‘terrorists’ by virtue of being Kashmiri Muslims. (Source: AP Photo)

Two undertrials lodged in Central Jail, Gurdaspur, submitted a complaint to the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday alleging they were stripped, beaten, and humiliated by other inmates last week.

They have also alleged continuous harassment inside the prison on account of their religious identity. The jail superintendent however, denied the allegations.

In the complaint sent to the Chief Justice through their lawyer Ankit Grewal, Sajad Hussain and Irshad Ahmad, who are residents of a village in Jammu’s Poonch district, alleged that the incident took place on June 12. “They said they were stripped naked, beaten, and humiliated. They were called ‘terrorists’ by virtue of being Kashmiri Muslims,” the complaint reads.

The complaint further stated that they were being forced to clean clothes, fetch drinking water, and be at the beck and call of “influential” prisoners. The death of Naik Gurcharan Singh, a Gurdaspur resident, in a ceasefire violation along the Line of Control on June 10 further aggravated the circumstances and harassment existing against them at the jail, as prisoners held them responsible for the deaths, according to the complaint.

Submitting that the incidents are a clear violation of the rights of prisoners, advocate Grewal in the complaint has urged the Chief Justice to treat the complaint as a petition and take all actions necessary to secure their life and liberty.

Superintendent of Gurdaspur Jail Balkar Singh Bhullar confirmed that they have received a copy of the complaint. “There is no such thing. It is fake. They have not complained before me earlier. We have received the complaint today (Wednesday). I have asked the deputy to enquire from them…This is all meaningless. We have other Kashmiris too here. We will still look into it,” he said.

Ahmad is accused in an FIR registered in Pathankot in 2016 for his alleged links with the ISI and having visited Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, and Himachal Pradesh for allegedly clicking photographs of sensitive areas of Indian Army.

Hussain is a co-accused in the FIR. The case is pending for final judgment before the Pathankot sessions court, as per the complaint copy. The accused were last produced before the trial court on March 12.

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