Over the past one decade of Bharatiya Janata Party’s rule in India, prisons in occupied Jammu amd Kashmir reported the highest proportions of 86 percent of under-trials as against an overall 76 per cent of under-trials in prisons across India in 2022.
This was revealed by Prison Watch, a Mumbai-based data portal, in its fresh report. In India, the proportions of under-trials in prisons increased from 66% in 2012 to 76 % in 2022 while IIOJK saw an increase of upto 86 % in the same period. The compiled data include demographic information, age, duration of confinement, and the nature of the crimes involved.
Alongside under-trials, the share of overall detainees from occupied Jammu and Kashmir also witnessed a massive increase during the period. A primary contributing factor to this trend is the indiscriminate arrests carried out by Indian police without proper consideration.
Other factors such as limited access to legal assistance and difficulties in meeting bail conditions contribute to the heightened likelihood of underprivileged individuals spending time in prison without being convicted.
In Indian prisons, a majority of the under-trials belong to oppressed caste groups including the Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Other Backward Classes (OBC). Caste prejudices and over-policing of certain communities are important social factors behind the significant presence of marginalised caste groups in jails, the report mentioned.
While this figure rose each year, the greatest rise was seen in the pandemic year of 2020, when undertrial prisoner share rose from 69% to 76%.—KMS