Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan informed the Rajya Sabha on Thursday that over 8000 Indians are currently lodged in different foreign jails, with a majority of them imprisoned in the gulf countries.
“As per the information available with the Ministry, the number of Indian prisoners, including under-trials, in foreign jails at present is 8278,” Muraleedharan said while responding to a question seeking details on the Indians lodged in various foreign jails and steps being taken to get them released.
United Arab Emirates (UAE) hosts the highest number of Indian prisoners standing at 1480, followed closely by Saudi Arabia which has lodged 1392 Indians in its jails. Nepal hosts the third-highest number of Indian prisoners, standing at 1112.
Indians are lodged in jail for crimes mostly involving drug trafficking, murder and sexual offences, he said.
It may be mentioned that Pakistan has lodged the the fourth-highest number of Indian prisoners, standing at 701 in their jails. A number of Indian fishermen, trawling in waters off the coast of Gujarat are routinely captured and imprisoned by Pakistani agencies.
"The Government attaches the highest priority to the safety, security and well-being of Indians in foreign countries, including those in the foreign jails. Indian Missions/Posts abroad remain vigilant and closely monitor the incidents of Indian nationals being put in jail in foreign countries for violation/alleged violation of local laws," Muraleedharan said.
"Apart from extending them all possible consular assistance, Indian Missions and Posts also assist in providing legal aid wherever needed. Missions and Posts also maintain a local panel of lawyers where the Indian community is in sizeable numbers," he added.
"The Government, through its Missions/Posts abroad and during high-level visits, also takes up and pursues grant of amnesty/commutation of sentences of Indian prisoners in foreign countries. In the last two years, a total of 700 Indian nationals have received amnesty or commutation of their sentences by foreign Governments," he further said.
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