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New manual to focus on human rights

Ranchi, Sept. 2: “Correctional activities” of inmates would be the primary focus of the new jail manual, which is under preparation by the government.

Besides, the “human rights” aspects would also find importance in the final amendment of the 88-year-old manual, which had so far, received only marginal modifications during these years.

“Apart from focusing on human rights and correctional activities of the prisoners, we also are keeping in mind the regional variation of Jharkhand,” said Sunil Kumar Barnwal, the inspector-general of police (prisons).

He has constituted five sub-committees comprising superintendents of various prisons to suggest the state government points of modifications.

In order to study the various jails of the state and suggest the government the points of amendment in the manual, the state has also formed a three-member core committee.

The committee comprises Abraham Minz, former superintendent of Hotwar jail; Deepak Vidyarthi, the superintendent of Hotwar jail and Purusottam Thakur, the assistant inspector-general of police (prisons).

The sub-committee would submit their suggestions to the core committee.

“Keeping in mind the specific needs of the time, we are stressing on human rights aspects as well as technological upgrade of prisons,” said Vidyarthi. About a couple of weeks ago, the Union home ministry had directed the state government to suggest ways for making a “model jail manual”. The present manual belonged to 1920, which though had gone through several minor modifications.

Several human rights organisations have been crying hoarse against the jail manual of colonial times.

They had even suggested the state government to consult the human rights activists for the final outlay of the points in the model jail manual.

The old jail manual provides the procedure of “mulaquat” through wire meshes. The human rights activists have been urging the government to allow the prisoners to meet at a proper room provided with chairs and other such facilities.

“The new manual should be flexible enough to ensure that the prisoners get enough to eat,” said Shashibhushan Pathak, the general secretary of PUCL, Jharkhand unit.

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