Srinagar: Thirty-two prisoners, including 16 arrested under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA), were released to decongest jails across Jammu and Kashmir in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, officials said on Sunday.
A total of 236 prisoners have been released this month by the Jammu and Kashmir administration on the directions of the Supreme Court.
Thirty-two more prisoners were released from various jails between April 14 and 17. They included 16 who were held under PSA and six under trial prisoners besides two who were released on parole, a senior government official told PTI.
He said the highest number of 11 prisoners including 10 PSA detainees were released from the Central Jail Kot Bhalwal in Jammu followed by eight from Central Jail Srinagar.
Those released from Central Jail Srinagar included three PSA detainees and an equal number of undertrials besides one who was set free on parole.
Three PSA detainees were released from sub-jail Hiranagar, district jail Anantnag and district jail Bhaderwah, while two undertrial prisoners were released from district jail Jammu and another undertrial from sub-jail Hiranagar, the official said.
He said another prisoner was released on parole from district jail Bhaderwah, while six other prisoners were released from special jail (correction home) Pulwama (two), district Jail Anantnag (two) and district jail Baramulla and district jail Udhampur (one each).
Earlier, 204 prisoners were released from various jails between April 1 and 13. They included 45 prisoners arrested under the PSA, 78 undertrials through the undertrial review committee, 9 undertrials falling under section 107, 109, 151 of the CrPC besides 16 prisoners who were released on parole.
On April 1, a three-member high powered committee headed by Executive Chairman J-K State Legal Services Authority (SLSA), Justice Rajesh Bindal along with Principal Secretary, Home Department, Shaleen Kabra and DGP (Prisons), V K Singh as its members, passed directions for the release of jail inmates except those involved in militancy related cases to decongest the prisons in the Union Territory.
The committee was constituted by the Jammu and Kashmir government following an order by the Supreme Court on March 23, directing the states and the UTs to decongest jails to ensure social distancing among the prisoners, while observing that overcrowding of prisons is a matter of serious concern in the wake of coronavirus outbreak.
The official said 132 prisoners were released from seven jails across Jammu region, 104 were set free from five jails in the valley including a special jail (correction home).
The highest number of 47 jail inmates were released from central Jail in Srinagar followed by 39 from Kot Bhalwal, 28 from district jail in Rajouri, 27 from district jail in Anantnag, 20 each from district jail in Udhampur and Jammu and 17 from sub-jail Hiranagar.
As many as 16 prisoners were released from district jail in Kupwara, 12 from special jail (correction home) in Pulwama, four each from district jail in Bhaderwah and Kathua and two from district jail in Baramulla, he said.
In addition, the official said the process for the release of 41 more prisoners from Kashmir, who are under detention in different jails outside Jammu and Kashmir since August last year, was also set into motion with the Home department revoking their PSA last week.
The prisoners included 15 from Baramulla, eight from Pulwama, seven from Anantnag, three from Kupwara, two each from Ganderbal, Bandipora and Budgam and one each from Kulgam and Srinagar, the official said. (PTI)