NHRC seeks report on UP jail HIV case

NHRC seeks report on UP jail HIV caseNEW DELHI: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sent a notice to the Uttar Pradesh government and its prison administration after over 20 inmates of the Gorakhpur District Jail were found to be HIV-positive in the past eight months.
The commission has issued notices to the state’s chief secretary and the Inspector General of Police (Prisons) and sought detailed reports in six weeks, along with the steps being taken to deal with the menace, the rights body said in a statement.
These inmates are 21 under-trials and three convicts, including a woman, the NHRC said.
“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 jails in Bareilly, Allahabad, Gorakhpur, Lucknow, Faizabad, Agra, Meerut, Varanasi and Kanpur,” the NHRC said.

The NHRC has 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,” the commission said.
The jail administration has claimed that the “disease did not spread inside the jail and the prisoners were already infected when they arrived,” the NHRC said.

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 for the prisoners to detect HIV in which, more than half of the prisoner lodged in the jail were tested, it said. -PTI

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