115 prisoners test positive for COVID-19 in IIOJK jails

Srinagar, May 18 (KMS): In Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir, ninety-two inmates have been tested positive for COVID-19 in two jails of the territory.

115 out of 4,570 prisoners were COVID active in all jails, officials said. The highest 72 prisoners and seven staff members tested positive in Udhampur district and 20 inmates were tested positive for COVID-19 among 272 prisoners in Kupwara district jail.officials said.

Earlier, 21 prisoners tested positive in Kathu district jail on May 10, while one inmate each was tested positive in district jail Jammu and central jail Kotbhalwal Jammu a few days earlier. Last year, two elderly prisoners — one each in district jail Rajouri and Sub-jail Bhaderwah — succumbed to the virus.

The prominent 77-year-old APHC leader and chairman of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai, who was lodged in Udhampur district jail under black law Public Safety Act died in Udhampur jail on May 5 for lack of medical treatment.

Jammu and Kashmir has a higher death rate due to Covid-19 than Indian 20 states, which makes IIOJK behind only some of the worst-hit territory like Indian city Goa and Delhi. Within J&K, Kashmir division is a notch worse than its Jammu counterpart.

Meanwhile, IIOJK reported highest ever single day spike in the number of Covid-19 deaths as 73 persons succumbed to the virus in last 24 hours, officials said. Also, 3344 new covid-19 cases have been reported, 1418 from Jammu region and 1926 from Kashmir valley, taking the overall tally to 247952. Regarding the deaths, the reports said, 54 were reported from Jammu region and 19 from Kashmir Valley, taking the fatality count 3222.

On the other hand, the Chairman of International Federation of Human Rights Jammu Kashmir, Muhammad Ahsan Untoo, in a letter to the US President Joe Biden urged him to impress upon India to immediately release all Kashmiri political prisoners on humanitarian grounds in view of the raging pandemic and lack of existing infrastructure and resources in Indian prisons to deal with the deadly corona virus.

Untoo in his letter to the US president said the prisoners lodged in faraway places from their homes should be shifted back to the nearest prisons so that in case of emergency, their relatives are in a position to provide them immediate care.

“Kashmiri political prisoners lodged in IIOJK and outside continue to be at the risk of contracting the deadly virus. In absence of the existing healthcare system, it becomes amply clear that jail authorities are not in a position to accommodate the rapidly increasing number of COVID infected cases of Kashmiri prisoners, most of whom have been booked under frivolous charges,” Unto wrote.

“We demand the release of all Kashmiri political prisoners including leaders of the resistance kept under illegal indefinite house arrest and hundreds of children and teenagers detained under brutal conditions,” he added.

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