According to NCRB, a detenu is any person detained in prison on the orders of the competent authority under the relevant preventive laws such as National Security Act (NSA), Public Safety Act (PSA), Narcotic Drug and Psychotropic Substance Act (NDPS), COFEPOSA, Prohibition of Insider Trading (PIT), Prevention of Blackmarketing and Maintenance of Supplies of Essential Commodities Act, 1980( (PBMSECA)among others.
The NCRB report said that the three states and one UT of J&K accounted for more than 80 percent of cases of detentions. Out of 3470 detenues, Tamil Nadu reported the maximum number of detenues (1,775) in the country followed by Telangana (396), Gujarat (372) and Jammu and Kashmir (252) at the end of 2021, it stated. Maharashtra (240) and Uttar Pradesh (222) are the only two other States in which a high number of such detentions were reported.
In Jammu and Kashmir, the State authorities invoke PSA, NSA and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against militants, overground workers (OGWs) and stone pelters with majority of them being shifted to prison outside the State. In 2021, J&K (296) reported the highest number of UAPA cases out of a total 814 cases registered across States and UTs. The esrtwhile State lost its special status in August 2019 when the union government revoked Article 370 and bifurcated the States into two UTs.
The highest number of detenues were in the age group 18 years to 30 years (45.9 percent)while those below 50 years were (40.8%). The NCRB report further stated that out of 3,470 detenues, 667 were illiterate and 1,360 were educated below class Xth standard. These two categories accounted for 19.2 percent and 39.2 percent of total detenues respectively, which together constitutes 58.4 percent (2,027 out of 3,470) the detenues. As compared to 2020, their numbers decreased by 3.3 percent from 3,590 to 3,470 in 2021.
The highest number of detenues were lodged in central jails followed by district jails and special jails, the report added.