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regular-article-logo Monday, 24 June 2024

Cry over tribal undertrials’ plight

The latest National Crime Records Bureau statistics indicate that over the last 10 years, the number of undertrials in jails has risen constantly and peaked in 2021

Animesh Bisoee Jamshedpur Published 03.01.23, 03:10 AM
Bandhu Tirkey.

Bandhu Tirkey. Manob Chowdhury

Former minister and member of Jharkhand coordination committee, Bandhu Tirkey, has flagged the issue of tribal and Dalit undertrials languishing in jail in the state.

“It is essential to pay attention to the prisoners lodged in jail and awaiting trial for petty offences. I would like to appeal to the government and the judiciary to look into the issue on the basis of humanity and sensitivity. I will apprise the chief minister of this issue soon,” said Tirkey, who is also an executive president of the Congress.

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President Droupadi Murmu had raised the issue of a large number of undertrials holed up in the prisons of India, particularly in Odisha and Jharkhand, during the Constitution Day celebrations in New Delhi on November 26.

The latest National Crime Records Bureau statistics indicate that over the last 10 years, the number of undertrials in jails has risen constantly and peaked in 2021.

The most alarming is the condition of countless poor and resourceless who continue to be arrested, routinely remanded to judicial custody in prisons, face long-winding trials and are unable to seek and secure bail either because of lack of economic resources or because of fear of the social stigma.

Jharkhand home department had in a reply to a question raised in Jharkhand Assembly in April last year said that there were 20,040 prisoners in jail till March 2022 out of which 14,824 (73.9 per cent) were undertrials.

The department had also admitted that most of the undertrials were from ST/SC communities.

“A large number of tribals, Dalit and backward class undertrials are staying in jails for a long time as they are not able to complete the process of the courts due to financial and other reasons. I appeal to the judges of Jharkhand High Court, the Jharkhand State Legal Services Authority (JHALSA), chief minister and the competent officers of the state law department to seriously consider the matter,” Tirkey said.

“Hemant Soren’s government, which is focusing on issues of common people, has entered the fourth year. I would like to appeal to everyone to take a firm resolution on this issue in the New Year,” Tirkey added.

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