The Jammu and Kashmir Home Department has revoked the detention orders of 14 people lodged in Central Jail in Srinagar and directed their immediate release amid the coronavirus outbreak, the Greater Kashmir reported on Monday.

“We have ordered immediate release of 14 persons detained under PSA [Public Security Act] from the Central Jail Srinagar,” a senior Home Department official told the newspaper. “Most of them were arrested in August last year.” The official added that steps are being taken to decongest the jail, and that more revocation orders will be issued.

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The list of detenus whose detention orders have been revoked has reached the jail authorities, Greater Kashmir reported quoting government sources. A list of 27 undertrials has been prepared at Central Jail. All these undertrials have been accused of petty crimes like theft, and are likely to get interim bail.

Home Department officials said that they have also sought lists of PSA detenus from other jails in the Union Territory, and their cases will be scrutinised. On the directions of the Supreme Court, a high-powered committee has been formed to examine cases of undertrials.

States like Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh have also released prisoners held for petty crimes on parole or furlough in the wake of the pandemic. Maharashtra released 11,000 such prisoners last week, fearing that Covid-19 would spread among jail inmates.

As many as 31 confirmed cases of Covid-19 have been reported from Jammu and Kashmir, of which two people have died. Nationally, the number of cases is 1,071, and the toll is 29, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.