An RTI query has made a shocking revelation about the possible threat to the lives of convicts and under trials languishing in Uttar Pradesh jails.
According to a Times of India report, on an average, one prisoner dies every 26 hours in Uttar Pradesh. The state prison department’s response to an RTI query stated that more than 2,050 prisoners have died in Uttar Pradesh since 2010.
The RTI query was filed by human rights activist Naresh Paras who was asked the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), governor of UP and the PMO to take up the matter.
The response to the query by UP prison department stated that 2,062 prisoners died in a period of 74 months – from January 2010 to February 2016.
A shocking fact is that more than half of them were undertrials. Moreover, 44 prisoners committed suicide between 2010 and 2015 and around 24 died in police custody or allegedly got murdered.
“Age and natural causes behind the death of prisoners is just another excuse to escape the reality. The situation inside UP prisons is pathetic. There is a major lack of medical treatment for inmates and poor infrastructure at prison clinics. The state government and prison authorities have no concern for prisoners' rights. The atmosphere inside the prisons provokes convicts to commit suicide. Protection of priso ners is the prime responsibility of prison authorities, yet murders and unnatural deaths in jails and police custody continue to take place on a frequent basis,” Times of India quoted Paras as saying.
According to the reply to the RTI query, as many as 322 prisoners died in the year 2010. Out of these, six killed themselves, one died in police custody and six were murdered. In 2011, 285 prisoners died, including an undertrial from Pakistan.
The number of deaths in 2012 rose to 360, which included another undertrial from Pakistan, whereas inmates killed themselves.
As per the reply to the query, 358 prisoners died in 2013, 345 in 2014, 345 in 2015 and 53 lost their lives in the first two months of 2016.
“Several initiatives have been taken in the past to provide better facilities to prisoners. Deaths reported due to old age and illness is quite normal and inevitable. The situation in prisons has improved in the past few years, but the number of prisoners has also increased. The state government is getting new prisons constructed. This will reduce overcrowding and help in developing better infrastructure. Efforts will be made to control the number of unnatural deaths of convicts,” said Inspector General of Police (IG) GL Meena.