New Delhi, April 15 (IANS) Since the outbreak of the coronavirus in India and the lockdown coming into force, a lot of people have been affected, one of them is a former Tihar inmate — a software professional in the US who was lodged in the Tihar Jail. He was accused of quarelling with a man on Facebook and now finds his freedom a difficult affair.

While the stories of migrant labourers and many others are flooding the newspapers, in an unsual incident, a prisoner who was released early from Delhi’s Tihar Jail is not able to go home as he has been stuck here due to the lockdown.

Vishal Sharma, narrating his journey from the US to the Tihar Jail, said, “A complaint was lodged by a man in 2013 after I had a quarrel with him on Facebook under the provisions of the Information Technology (IT) Act. In 2018, when the case reached the court, I did not claim trial and pleaded guilty following which I was awarded an year of imprisonment.

However, only aftter three months, I got bail and went to Dubai for official purposes. When I came back to India in 2019, I again surrended so as to complete my remaining term. Though, I was supposed to be released in May, the jail authorities upon seeing my conduct decided to release me early and I walked out of Tihar on April 4, Vishal told IANS over the phone.

Revealing what happned after his release, Vishal said, “The day I walked out of Tihar’s Jail number 7, I called up my parents and they were shocked to hear the news of my release, however, I refused to return home as the only way to reach my home in Jalandhar is by driving and since my parents are old and there was no curfew pass, I didn’t want to trouble them.”

When asked about the condition of the prisons since the lockdown has come in place, he said that awareness campaign is done by the Deputy Jail Superintendent and doctors inside the jail about how hygiene should be maintained and also about the social distancing norms.

“But, nobody is following the social distancing norms and even the food was also being prepared without much precautions. Prisoners were standing closely in the line to fetch food and everyone is having water from the same tap,” Vishal said.

Vishal is currently residing inside a shelter home in Tihar Gaon near Tiak Nagar area.

Recently, a high-powered committee constituted for taking steps to decongest prisons in the wake of coronavirus expressed its deep anguish after it found that no steps were taken to implement its resolution for various steps to be taken to decongest the prisons including remission of sentence to the convicts.

The committee headed by Delhi High Court judge Justice Hima Kohli and also comprising Tihar Jail DG Sandeep Goyal, Principal Secretary (Home) Satya Gopal and Kanwaljit Arora, was set up pursuant to the orders of the Supreme Court in order to decongest the prisons.

After Justice Hima Kohli expressed displeasure, Principal Secretary (Home) apprised her that on the basis of resolution, the Delhi government has passed the necessary orders “granting remission of sentence”.

He further assured the court that the said orders will be communicated to D.G.(Prisons) during the course of the day.

Goyal said he will expedite the process within two-three days of receipt of the orders from the government of NCT of Delhi in order to achieve the objective, for which the committee is constituted.




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