New Delhi [India], May 11 (ANI): Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind approached the Supreme Court on Monday seeking grant of conditional bail to eligible jail inmates across the country on humanitarian grounds amid the coronavirus-induced lockdown.
An intervention application was filed in the apex court over its earlier order directing states and union territories across the country to make a plan about releasing inmates on interim bails, furlows, etc to decongest the jails to prevent the spread of coronavirus in prison.
The petition, filed through advocate-on-record Ejaz Maqbool, sought grant of interim bail to inmates with less than seven years prison sentence and other eligible prisoners apprehending that they might get infected "because of social distancing norms not being followed in jail."
It said that inmates and jail staff in Mumbai's Arthur Road Jail and Byculla Jail recently tested positive for COVID-19, following which the family members of the inmates approached the Jamiat to take the matter to top court.
Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind president Maulana Syed Arshad Madani said after the petition was filed that "our priority should be to save lives from the pandemic on humanitarian ground".
"On 16 March, the Supreme Court had taken suo moto cognisance of the issue and directed state governments to set up committees to consider granting bails to jail inmates. However, several states have not taken any initiative on the issue," Madani said.
He said that health departments have said that social distancing is the only effective way to prevent the spread of coronavirus but it is impossible to do so in prisons as they have more prisoners than their prescribed capacity.
"It is the old tradition of Jamiat's forefathers that Jamiat extends helping hand to everyone on humanitarian ground. This is the reason that Jamiat is filing petition to support jail inmates irrespective of their religion. But it is very sad to say that a poisonous narrative has been built by religious bigots to demonize Muslims," Madani said.
"Our priority should be to save lives from the pandemic irrespective of religion. The communal virus is dangerous than coronavirus and bigots have turned this into Hindu-Muslim one. The government can stop this kind of negative campaign spread by most of the electronic and social media if they want. But their silence gives them silent approval to do so," he added.
Madani said that despite the apex court order, several state and union territories did not oblige and released only few inmates from the jails. (ANI)