LAHORE: The National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) on Monday condemned the incident of the death of Indrias Masih in jail, demanding that the court should take notice of the current medical facility and hygiene conditions provided in jails and bring the perpetrators to justice.
The commission also sought a thorough probe by the government into the incident.
Indrias Masih, 33, an accused in the case of lynching of two suspected men during the Youhanabad attacks in March 2015, had died in jail due to gastrointestinal tuberculosis over a week before. The family and community in general protested against the death and demanded the government treat the incident as a murder case because Masih’s untimely death was a result of negligence on part of jail authorities, poor prison conditions, consumption of unclean water and food.
Expressing disappointment over the incident, NCJP Executive Director Cecil Shane Chaudhry said: “It was upsetting that a falsely accused young man died due to negligence and poor medical facilities provided by the jail authorities”.
He added Indrias Masih was the father of three children and sole bread-winner of the family. He was a labourer on daily wages prior to his arrest in 2015. In hope of better life and income opportunity for his family, he had shifted from Bahawalpur to Lahore five years ago. His monthly income was roughly about Rs7,000.
“The court should show mercy on these poor people. They’ve been suffering in jails for a very long time,” NCJP National Director Rev Fr Emmanuel Yousaf (Mani) said. He highlighted that many of the accused were facing difficulty of sustaining their marriages while their children eagerly awaited return of their fathers.
Recalling the declining health of Indrias Masih, Mr Yousaf said he had managed to draw attention of the court towards Indrias’s illness during a hearing on June 2, on which the court only referred him to the jail dispensary/jail hospital and not to any proper doctor or government hospital.
NCJP Chairperson Bishop Dr Joseph Arshad the police sensitivity should be made priority and pleaded that justice should be delivered to the victim and his family. “Jail conditions and insensitivity of the police towards the prisoners need to be evaluated by the honorable courts,” he added.
The NCJP’s officials asked the government to hold the jail authorities accountable for the substandard conditions, lack of medical facilities and insensitivity towards the prisoners in jail due to which a young man lost his life. “The court should take notice of the current medical facility and hygiene conditions provided in the jails and bring the perpetrators to exemplary justice,” reads the statement by the commission. It demanded, “Since Indrias Masih’s death was a result of police and jail authorities negligence, his family must be provided with due compensation,” it sought”.
Published in Dawn, August 22nd, 2017