Jammu, Dec 30 (PTI) Over 2,700 undertrials and 41 convicts were released in Jammu and Kashmir as part of measures to ensure social distancing in jails amid the coronavirus pandemic, an official said on Wednesday.
Two elderly prisoners died of COVID-19, while 533 other inmates recovered from the infection after successful treatment, the director general of prisons, V K Singh, said.
"As many as 2,703 undertrials have been released on bail and 41 convicts on normal parole this year on the recommendation of a high-powered committee, which was constituted on the directions of the Supreme Court to decongest jails to ensure social distancing among the prisoners," Singh told PTI on the sidelines of an event at Amphalla jail in Jammu.
The panel met eight times through video conference under the chairmanship of Justice Rajesh Bindal, the acting chief justice of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, and recommended the release of the undertrials and 41 convicts.
A total of 536 inmates in various jails have tested positive for coronavirus so far. While 533 of them recovered, two elderly prisoners, both in their 70s, died, according to Singh.
One prisoner, who recently tested positive for COVID-19 in Srinagar Central Jail is still under treatment, while 141 inmates are under quarantine across the prisons, he said.
The nearly two-hour-long cultural programme saw a spectacular performance by jail inmates, prompting chief guest Justice Bindal suggesting a platform to allow them perform outside the prison as a special case.
Justice Bindal appreciated the efforts made by jail authorities for the welfare of the prisoners.
Earlier, jail superintendent Mirza Saleem Ahmad Beig underlined various steps being taken in the prison for reformation of prisoners and improving prison administration.
He highlighted that the department is working towards making jails self-reliant and providing better living conditions and training facilities to the inmates.