15 Apr 2021: 3,400 Tihar Jail inmates go 'missing' while on COVID-19 parole
Out of the 6,700 Tihar Jail inmates released on parole to decongest prisons in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, 3,400 have reportedly gone "missing".
Authorities are now taking help from the Delhi Police to help trace the inmates, who include convicted and undertrial prisoners.
The inmates were supposed to start surrendering between February and March.
Here are more details.
Details: 3,468 prisoners, including 112 convicts, 'missing'
3,468 prisoners have gone "missing" out of the 6,740 released on parole last year, The Indian Express reported.
Sources told TIE that 1,184 convicted inmates were released from Delhi's three jails, at Tihar, Mandoli, Rohini.
They were supposed to surrender between February 7 and March 6, but 112 are missing. Their families told officials that the inmates were not at home, the sources said.
Details: 3,356 undertrial prisoners have not surrendered
Out of the 5,556 undertrial prisoners, only 2,200 have returned. "The process to surrender started on March 6 this year and they were asked to surrender by the end of March," sources told TIE.
DG Goel told the publication, "Some undertrial prisoners are still surrendering and some might have obtained regular bails from courts, which is being ascertained."
Background: Prisons were asked to decongest by releasing inmates last year
Last year, all states had constituted high-powered committees to set up a criterion for the release of convicted and undertrial prisoners after the Supreme Court's suggestion to decongest jails in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Tihar—which has a capacity of 10,026 inmates—most prisoners released suffered from illnesses such as HIV, cancer, kidney dysfunction requiring dialysis, Hepatitis B or C, asthma, and TB.
Coronavirus: 78 active COVID-19 cases in Tihar Jail
As of Wednesday, there were 67 active coronavirus infections among Tihar Jail inmates and 11 among the jail staff, including a jail superintendent and two prison doctors, TIE reported citing jail authorities.
"Till date, 174 inmates and 300 staff have tested positive. Last week, the Tihar jail administration decided to cancel meetings between prisoners and their family members till further orders," an official said.