New Delhi: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports that a Pakistani national, serving a life sentence in the Jaipur Central Jail, Rajasthan, was killed on Wednesday in a brawl with four inmates allegedly over the volume of a television set.
Describing the incident as inhuman, the Commission has said that it condemns all such incidents and has called for stringent action against the miscreants to ensure that Right to Life of the prisoners are not violated while they are in lawful judicial custody. Accordingly, the Commission has issued notices to the Chief Secretary and the Director General (Prisons), Rajasthan calling for reports within four weeks.
The Commission on the basis of the media reports has also held that the authorities are expected to take immediate precautionary measures in the jails, where Pakistani nationals are lodged in the wake of the prevailing atmosphere. It has also directed its Registry to send a copy of the proceeding in this matter to the Chief Secretaries of all the States and UTs across the country for strict compliance and taking necessary action in their respective States.
The NHRC has observed that it is immaterial whether the victim was an Indian citizen or a foreigner, he was a human being and the Apex Court has also held in the case of Charles Shobraj V. Superintendent of Central Jail, Tihar that imprisonment does not spell farewell to fundamental rights guaranteed under Constitution of India. Once, someone is kept in the custody of the State even in the jail, being a lawful custodian, the State is duty bound to ensure his safety and security.
The Commission has also noted the reported allegations, leveled by the Pakistan government, that the inmate was killed in retaliation to Pulwama attack and the reported denial of them by the State prison authorities. However, it has pointed out that keeping in view the timing of the incident, the allegations are required to be looked into, thoroughly.
The Commission has further observed that there have been many instances in India as well as Pakistan, when citizens of other countries are targeted by the native prisoners, due to anger and hatred. One Indian citizen, Sarabjit Singh who was serving sentence in a Pakistan jail was also attacked in a similar manner and later he succumbed to his injuries during the course of treatment. These kinds of incidents may aggravate the grim situation, violating the human rights of the innocent citizens, particularly those who are in jails.
According to the media reports, carried today on the 21st February, 2019, the victim, a resident of Sialkot in Pakistan, was arrested in the year 2011 under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and he was serving a life sentence in the jail.
Quoting Rajasthan police sources, it is also reported that an investigation into the killing will be conducted under the guidelines issued by the National Human Rights Commission and an FIR u/s 302 IPC has been registered in the matter.
Pakistan’s High Commission in New Delhi, meanwhile, has reportedly raised the issue with the Indian authorities and requested for an urgent and authentic report in the matter.