Srinagar, Mar 12: 22 people from J&K were lodged in jails outside India in July last year and their number now is nine, Minister of State for Ministry of External Affairs V Muraleedharan told the Parliament on Thursday.
However he did not give details about countries which released these 12 persons. Last year, the minister had informed that of the 22 persons, highest number of them, 11 were imprisoned in Saudi Arabia followed by seven in Pakistan and one each in Cyprus, China, Cambodia and Bangladesh.
“As per the information available with the Ministry, the number of residents of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) in foreign prisons as of 15.07.2019 was 22. The number of residents of J&K as on 31.01.2020 has come down to 9,” the minister said, replying to a written query by CPI’s K. Somaprasadi.
However he did not give details about countries which released these 12 persons.
Last year, the minister had informed that of the 22 persons, highest number of them, 11 were imprisoned in Saudi Arabia followed by seven in Pakistan and one each in Cyprus, China, Cambodia and Bangladesh.
“This has been possible due to sustained and proactive efforts of the Government,” the minister said, asserting that the Government attaches the highest priority to the safety, security and well-being of Indians in foreign countries, including those in the foreign jails.
“Indian Missions / Posts abroad remain vigilant and closely monitor the incidents of Indian nationals being put in jail in foreign countries for violation of local laws or alleged violation of local laws,” he said, adding, “As soon as the information about detention/arrest of an Indian national is received by an Indian Mission/Post, it gets in touch with the local Foreign Office andother concerned local authorities to get consular access to the detained/arrested Indian national to confirm his Indian nationality and ensure his welfare.”
In some countries where ‘pro bono’ lawyers are available, he said, the Mission arranges legal assistance to the Indian prisoners. “Government of India also provides initial legal assistance to distressed Indian nationals in deserving cases,” he said, adding, “Steps taken by our Missions include requesting local authorities for speedy trials, seeking remission of sentence, providing advice and guidance in legal and other matters, ensuring fair and humane treatment in foreign jails, issue of emergency certificates and repatriation to India of those who are released.”
Last year, the Minister told the Parliament that owing to strong privacy laws prevailing in many countries, the local authorities do not share information on prisoners unless the person concerned consents to the disclosure of such information.
“Even countries which share information do not generally provide detailed information about the people of foreign countries imprisoned,” the Minister had said.