J&K LG suggests teaching jail inmates about Mahatma Gandhi's life

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Jammu, Jan 25 (PTI) Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Manoj Sinha on Monday suggested teaching prison inmates about the life of Mahatma Gandhi, with a focus on his ideology of non-violence and truth.

He also lauded the efforts of the prisons Department for providing better facilities to the jail inmates.

'The jails abroad have introduced the life of Gandhi to the inmates, especially non-violence and truth and are organizing symposiums and debates which have brought a positive change among the prisoners.

'We are observing Republic Day tomorrow and I think it is the right day to prepare a primary syllabus on Gandhi's life and include it in our jails,' Sinha said, addressing a cultural programme at Amphalla district jail here.

The programme was organized by the prisons department on the eve of Republic Day and was among others attended by top bureaucrats including Chief Secretary B V R Subramanyam and senior police officers including Director General of Police (Prisons) V K Singh and DGP Dilbag Singh.

The Lt Governor took a round of various facilities including modern interview room and display unit before witnessing the live performance of several jail inmates who sang patriotic songs and danced on the tunes of famous Bollywood numbers besides others.

'I am witness to a positive change and the full credit for it goes to the DGP prisons and his staff,' the Lt Governor said, disclosing that once he was jailed for 22 days in Varanasi prison during a student agitation and he had to plead the jail superintendent to make a phone call.

He said the government is making continuous efforts to improve the living condition of the jail inmates.

'The work started in 1951 and is still ongoing. When I was in Lok Sabha in 2017, a new modern jail manual replaced the old one on the directions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi which was aimed at making our jails into correction centres.

'In 2002, former prime minister A B Vajpayee practically implemented various reforms to improve the living condition of jail inmates, especially women, and the prisons staff and to provide better facilities and infrastructure, though the aim remained to check the criminal activities inside the jails as well,' the LG said.

He also referred to the constituting of the High Powered Committee (HPC) on the directions of the Supreme Court to decongest jails and said it needs to meet frequently as the courts are overburdened with cases and as per the national crime record bureau report 70 percent of the total inmates in jails are undertrials.

'The jail capacity is much lower compared to the prisoners in the country but the situation in J&K is far better,' he said, expressing hope that the HPC would decide the cases of those prisoners who have transformed themselves or those who have spent a lot of time in the jail and are ready to join the society as good citizens.

Earlier, the DGP prisons presented a detailed performance of his department in the past year and said a total of 539 prisoners were affected by the virus and two elderly prisoners with comorbidities died.

He said the prisons department has resumed 'mulaqat' (meeting) of the inmates and their families last week subject to the visitors bringing along their COVID-negative certificate. The meetings had been suspended since March last year due to the pandemic.

'The prisons department has also turned tech-savvy as 100 per cent trial and remand are being done through video conference,' he said.

The DGP prisons said 3,180 inmates were released and 41 others got parole on the recommendations of the HPC.

He said 49 residents of J&K are lodged in different jails in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana and they are in good health. PTI TAS AB CK