New Delhi: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notices to the Madhya Pradesh chief secretary and the Inspector General of Prisons after taking suo motu cognizance of the plights of the prison inmates and directed calling for a detailed report in the matter including the present health status of all the SIMI prisoners and their medical treatment records, within 4 weeks

Six members of the banned students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) had begun a hunger strike inside the Bhopal Central Jail a week ago and now they have been shifted to the jail hospital.  The prisoners who are found guilty of sedition, collecting arms and waging war against the government have been sentenced for life imprisonment in the years 2017 and 2018 by different courts including the NIA and CBI Special Courts.

Apart from the present proceedings going on in the existing case, the Commission takes cognizance of the recent development with regard to grievance of the prisoners and their health conditions. The prisoners have the right to food and dignity which is the basic human rights and the State, being their lawful custodian, cannot deny it to the inmates, in its lawful custody. The news report has revealed that all of them are demanding better food, exemption from regular frisking and freedom from high security block. 

The Jail superintendent, as mentioned in the news report, has stated that these prisoners are not allowed to come out of the special cell as they shout anti-national slogans and also disrespect the Constitution of India which leads to tension amongst the other inmates of the jail. 

The Commission would like to mention here that amid spread of Covid-19 there had been significant increase in the case of coronavirus amongst the inmates lodged in the jails, across the country.  Hence, it is necessary that the prisoners are provided proper food so that their immunity level remains satisfactory which is also necessary as per guidelines issued by the WHO and ICMR.