Bhopal: The National Human Rights Commission has taken suo motu cognizance of the violation of prisoners’ rights after reports emerged of six members of the banned outfit Students' Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) being sent to hospital in the backdrop of a hunger strike inside the Bhopal Central Jail.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Monday issued a notice to the Madhya Pradesh Government and sought reply within four weeks.
Seeking medical treatment records and present health status of all the SIMI prisoners, the NHRC has issued notice to Chief Secretary Iqbal Singh Bais and Inspector General of Prison Sanjay Choudhary for violation of prisoners’ rights and inhuman behaviour, according to a press note released by the commission.
Six members of SIMI had begun a hunger strike inside Bhopal Central Jail a week ago and now they have been shifted to the prison hospital. The prisoners, who were found guilty of sedition, collecting arms and waging war against the government, have been sentenced to life imprisonment in 2017 and 2018 by the different courts including the National Investigative Agency and Central Bureau of Investigation’s special courts, the NHRC’s note says.
As per the Bhopal Central Jail records, 28 men associated with the banned student group are in jail and 19 of them are serving life imprisonment.
The prisoners have the right to food and dignity, which is a basic human right that the state government cannot deny to inmates who are in its lawful custody, remarked NHRC.
Various media reports had revealed that the protesting prisoners had demanded better food, exemption from regular frisking and freedom from the high-security block. However, the Jail Superintendent, as mentioned in the news reports, claimed that the SIMI prisoners are not allowed to come out of the special cell as they raise anti-national slogans and disrespect the Constitution and that leads to tension amongst other inmates.
In the end, the NHRC mentioned that amid the spread of Covid-I9, there has been a significant increase in the rise of COVID-19 cases among inmates lodged in the jails across the country. “It is necessary that the prisoners are provided proper food so that their immunity level remains satisfactory, such is necessary as per guidelines issued by WHO and ICMR,” it said.