NHRC notices to the Government of Uttar Pradesh over the reported spread of AIDS among the prisoners in the jails of the State (07.03.2018)
New Delhi, 7th March, 2018
The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC has taken suo motu cognizance of a media report that twenty-four prisoners have tested positive for HIV in the last four months at Gorakhpur District Jail in Uttar Pradesh. They include 21 undertrials and three convicts, including a woman. Reportedly, during the tests conducted by the Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society in 70 jails of the State, 265 prisoners were tested HIV positive till December last year. These cases have been reported from the jails in Bareilly, Allahabad, Gorakhpur, Lucknow, Faizabad, Agra, Meerut, Varanasi and Kanpur.
The Commission has issued notices to the Chief Secretary and IG (Prisons) of Uttar Pradesh calling for detailed reports in the matter within six weeks along with the steps taken to deal with the menace.
It has also observed that the contents of the news report, if true, indicate towards sorry state of affairs in the jails of Uttar Pradesh. Seemingly, there is an urgent need to conduct a probe into the matter to determine the cause of the spread of HIV infection among prisoners. It is also necessary to take immediate preventive measures so that other prisoners do not fall prey to the infection and those, who are suffering are provided necessary medical treatment.
According to the media report, carried on the 28th February, 2018, the jail administration has claimed that the disease did not spread inside the jail and the prisoners were already infected when they arrived. Most of them have been jailed under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. As reported, in the month of October last year, on the initiative of Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society, a camp was started to conduct blood tests on the prisoners to detect HIV in which, more than half of the prisoner lodged in the jail were tested.