NEW DELHI: More than 60 prisoners of Indian nationality, lodged in jails abroad, sought to be repatriated in the last three years. However, only 14 Indian nationals were repatriated during 2015-2018, the government informed the Parliament on Wednesday.
As many as 43 requests of repatriation are pending before the government, maximum being from the state of Kerala, followed by Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Gangaram Ahir revealed the figures in the Rajya Sabha while responding to a question on the issue. "Sixty-five applications were received from Indian nationals incarcerated abroad for transfer to India during the period 2015 to 2018. Out of these, 14 Indian nationals were transferred to India during the above mentioned period," he said.
Transfer of sentenced prisoners is permitted under the Repatriation of Prisoners Act, 2003, which says prisoners from 35 countries in India and Indian prisoners in these countries can be repatriated. Those 35 countries with which India has the agreements are United Kingdom, Mauritius, Bulgaria, France, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Bangladesh, Israel, UAE, Italy, Turkey, Maldives, Thailand, Russian Federation, Kuwait, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvaador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Paraguay, United States, Uruguay, Panama and Czech Republic.
According to the government, 43 requests are still pending before the government. Maximum 12 requests are pending from the state of Kerala, followed by 8 requests from Punjab, 7 from Tamil Nadu, 6 from Andhra Pradesh, 2 from Rajasthan and 1 each from Daman & Diu, Gujarat, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Puducherry and West Bengal.
Last year, the government had informed the Parliament that 7,737 Indians are languishing in various jails in 77 foreign countries. Among the 7,737 in jails, 471 were lodged in Pakistan. Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh had informed the Lok Sabha in June that wherever required, the Indian missions and posts abroad provide airfare to facilitate the return of Indian prisoners who have completed their sentence. An amount of R2,72,24,969 was spent as assistance during the period from March 2015 to March 2018 in this regard, he had said.