M A I N   N E W S

6,481 Indians in jails abroad
Highest number in Saudi Arabia followed by UAE and Pak
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Jammu, December 25
There are as many as 6,481 Indians languishing in jails of different countries with 1,369 alone in Saudi Arabia. This was revealed in a reply by the Ministry of External Affairs to a Jammu resident, Raman Kumar Sharma’s, RTI query.

United Arab Emirates has second highest number (1,221) of Indian prisoners, while Pakistan is third with a count of 853.

The reply nailed another myth regarding offences committed by Indians. It is generally thought that most of the Indians are caught abroad for illegal immigration. However, a country-wise break up shows the number of those arrested for offences like, theft, cheating, sexual and immoral acts, traffic violation, murders, alcoholism and drugs smuggling was more than those held for illegal stay.

Of the 6,481 prisoners, 121 are women. Pakistan has only two Indian women in its jails. Cyprus has the highest number (19) of Indian women offenders, who were caught on charges of assault, drugs, illegal stay without work permit, forgery and stealing.

Kuwait and Singapore are tied at the second spot with 17 Indian female offenders.

Nepal has a total of 245 Indian prisoners. Most of them have been arrested on charges of murder, smuggling and illegal stay. Canada did not share the information.

Raman said he wanted to know what the Indian government was doing for its citizens caught abroad. “I often read how embassies of different countries promptly take up cases of their citizens arrested in India. I wanted to know how many Indians were incarcerated abroad and under what offence. I had thought Pakistan would have the highest number, “ said the RTI applicant.

Raman feels the information can be put to good use. “The news reports suggest that two Pakistani women are lodged in J&K jails. Similarly, two Indian women are behind bars in Pakistan. The two governments can think about exchanging the prisoners if the law permits so,” he opined.

Bidhi Chand, central public information officer with the MEA, said in his reply that the Indian government extends all possible assistance to the prisoners abroad.

“ This includes requesting local authorities for speedy trials, seeking remission of sentence, seeking consular access, providing guidance in legal and other matters, ensuring fair and human treatment in jails and repatriation to India of those who are released,” he stated in his reply.

India does not have a prisoner exchange agreement with most of these countries. The agreement can allow the prisoners to complete their sentence in India, where their family members can meet them occasionally.



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