Human rights involve moral principles that are fundamental to a human life. These rights, being fundamental and universal in nature, are at the foundation of any individual life. It is crucial specifically when considering the situation of prisoners.
India is the world’s largest democracy in more than name, yet the treatment of prisoners in India is grim and violative of the fundamental human rights. Special privileges are granted to prisoners belonging to upper and middle classes and those that have political connections. Furthermore, remand to police custody has become a norm except for the minority that can afford to retain counsel to appear before a magistrate and those who can afford bail.
We do not have to pry deep into the pages of history to find trace of these activities. Recent cases in the farmer’s protest and arrests of civilians for expressing their concerns is a prominent example. Three youth farmers were recently released from false imprisonments. They revealed that on their indictment, the jail staff stripped them of their clothes and used physical violence. Another important point is the racial discriminations that have led to false arrests of innocent civilians specifically those belonging to Sikh community. The young farmers mentioned that they were peacefully walking across the street when the police pulled them over, and after confirming their identities as ‘Panjabi’ arrested them.
Further examination of history suggests improper treatment of Sikh prisoners. Incidents involving disrespecting the Sikh identity by removing their turban and violating other religious practices are becoming more common. There have also been multiple cases of forced confessions where the prisoners are usually threatened with physical violence or harm to one of their close relatives, just in order to seal the case file and improve the name of their department.