Young boys arrested on charges of stone pelting during the statewide unrest that followed Hizbul Mujahedeen commander Burhan Wani’s death, have been paraded naked and are being kept in jails without their clothes on, the Jammu & Kashmir Bar Association has said in a statement.

A team of lawyers from J&K High Court Bar Association visited various jails in the Jammu region on the 25th and 26th of last month and found the conditions of the inmates “pathetic.” The Bar will place its report to the J & K High Court.

“In Kote Balwal Jail it was reported that on the very first day of lodgment, the alleged stone pelters were asked to remove their trousers and parade naked. It was after protest by the senior inmates that such practice was stopped,” the Bar said in its statement.  The team of lawyers visited district Jail Kathua, Sub Jail Hira Nagar, District Jail Amphalla Jammu, Central Jail Kotebalwal Jammu and District Jail Udhampur.

“In all the jails of Jammu province, those who have been detained on ground of stone pelting are kept separate, irrespective of their age and status. Likewise militants and other under trial prisoners are also kept separate. They are not allowed to interact with each other or avail of any amenity in the jail together. The young boys allegedly involved in stone pelting incidents are humiliated and tortured inside the jails,” the Bar said.

“The team members found that the conditions of the inmates lodged in these jails was pathetic right from the first day of their entry into the jail. They were teased, beaten and tortured by the jail authorities. During the first 15 days of their lodging in the jail, they were confined in solitary cells. Their clothes were taken off and they were subjected to ill-treatment.”

The Bar members found that all the Jammu jails were overcrowded. “The inmates, because of paucity of space, are huddled like cattle in overcrowded barracks. There are several jails in Kashmir province where they could have been very easily accommodated. But they were sent out so that they are unable to meet their friends, relatives and family members,” the Bar stated.

The Bar also condemned the killing of Sajad Ahmad Malik, an ex-sarpanch in an alleged ‘fake encounter.’
“It was stated that some time before his killing, he was seen by people on a motorcycle, which was being driven by an SPO and shortly thereafter there were gun shots and it was reported that he was killed. It was stated that the killing of Sajad Ahmad Malik is evidently a case of custodial killing. Those who committed such a gruesome act should be arrested and punished, the Bar said.