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45 PSA detainees & 159 other prisoners released from J&K jails due to Covid-19

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Srinagar Central jai | Azaan Javaid/ThePrint
Srinagar Central jail | Azaan Javaid | ThePrint


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Jammu: As many as 204 prisoners, including 45 who were arrested under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA), were released this month to decongest jails across Jammu and Kashmir in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, a senior government official said on Tuesday.

In addition, the Home department has also revoked the PSA of 41 prisoners who are held in different jails outside the Union Territory and ordered their release, the official said.

“A total of 204 prisoners have been released from various jails of the Union Territory between April 1 and 13. They include 45 prisoners arrested under the PSA, 78 undertrials through the undertrial review committee, nine undertrials falling under section 107, 109, 151 of the CrPC,” a senior government official told PTI.

Among the 204, 16 prisoners were released on parole, he said.

On April 1, a three-member high powered committee headed by Executive Chairman J-K State Legal Services Authority (SLSA), Justice Rajesh Bindal along with Principal Secretary, Home Department, Shaleen Kabra and DGP (Prisons), V K Singh as its members, passed directions for the release of jail inmates except those involved in militancy related cases to decongest the prisons in the Union Territory.

The committee was constituted by the Jammu and Kashmir government following an order by the Supreme Court on March 23, directing the states and the UTs to decongest jails to ensure social distancing among the prisoners, while observing that overcrowding of prisons is a matter of serious concern in the wake of coronavirus outbreak.

The official said the highest number of 39 jail inmates were released from central Jail in Srinagar followed by 28 each from central jail in Kot Bhalwal and district jail in Rajouri, 24 from district jail in Anantnag, 19 from district jail in Udhampur, 18 from district jail in Jammu and 16 from district jail in Kupwara.

As many as 15 prisoners were released from sub-jail in Hiranagar, 10 from special jail (correction home) in Pulwama, two from district jail in Bhaderwah and one from district jail in Baramulla, he said.

The official said the process for the release of 41 more prisoners from Kashmir, who are under detention in different jails outside Jammu and Kashmir since August last year, was also set into motion with the Home department revoking their PSA.

The prisoners included 15 from Baramulla, eight from Pulwama, seven from Anantnag, three from Kupwara, two each from Ganderbal, Bandipora and Budgam and one each from Kulgam and Srinagar, the official said.


Also read: Modi govt amends J&K’s Public Safety Act, withdraws privileges given to former CMs


 

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Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’

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A doctor with a stethoscope (Representative image) | Pixabay


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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”


Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot


‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.


Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown


 

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