Even as the country and its entire spectrum of politicians go on a competitive overdrive over the “martyrdom” of Sarabjith Singh who was beaten to death by his jail-mates in Pakistan, can we at least now focus attention on other Indians in overseas jails?
Do we have any idea how many Indians are stuck in jails abroad and where they are?
Do we know what the charges against them are and if they had been wrongly confined or if they had got a fair chance of legal recourse?
Have we provided them with consular assistance?
Have they been tortured?
According to Ministry of External Affairs records, a total of 6569 Indians are in prisons of other countries - including in places such as Malawi, Lesotho and Madagascar.
Our government doesn’t have any idea of Indian prisoners in many countries. Out of the 112 countries in its list, it has no information on possible Indian prisoners in as many as 35 countries.
The highest number of Indian prisoners are in Saudi Arabia - 1691. Given the horrendous human rights environment of the country, one can only shudder at the thought of being incarcerated in its jails.
The next is UAE, perhaps in better conditions - 1012. Pakistan jails have 254 Indians and China, 157. Fifty six Indians are languishing in Thailand jails, which are among the most notorious in the world.
The list has been shared by the Ministry of External Affairs with a Kochi-based lawyer, DB Binu, General Secretary of Human Rights Defence Forum, in response to his RTI enquiry in April. Although Binu had asked for a state-wise breakup, the Ministry expressed its inability to fulfil his request because it doesn’t keep such a list.
Here is the full list:
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Updated Date: May 03, 2013 13:52:50 IST