swaraj aziz
swaraj azizReuters

Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj has directed the Indian High Commissioner in Pakistan to seek consular access to an Indian prisoner who has reportedly been a victim of repeated attacks in a Peshawar jail in Pakistan.

"I am very much disturbed to read about repeated attacks on Hamid Ansari who is detained in Peshawar jail since 2012. It is inhuman. I have asked our High Commissioner in Pakistan to seek Consular access to Hamid Ansari in hospital/Jail and report," Swaraj said in a series of tweets.

Thirty-one-year-old Hamid Nehal Ansari, a resident of Mumbai, was arrested in 2012 for entering Pakistan from Afghanistan illegally to meet a woman he had become friends with over social media. A military court sentenced him to three years in jail for possessing a fake Pakistani identity card.

Ansari was attacked by his inmates at the Peshawar Central Prison.

Qazi Mohammad Anwar, the Indian prisoner's lawyer, told the bench at the Peshawar High Court on Thursday that Ansari was attacked by his inmates at least three times in recent months, according to local media reports. Ansari is in a death cell with a criminal who is awaiting death sentence for a murder. He was attacked and injured thrice over the last two months and shifted to a hospital for treatment, his lawyer said. He added that a jail officer would beat him up daily without any reason.

However, Jail Superintendent Masoodur Rehman argued that Ansari suffered minor injuries and that such incidents "kept happening" in prisons. He added that Ansari couldn't "be kept in a normal barrack with other prisoners for the sake of his security."

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup told reporters on Friday that a petition was filed in the Peshawar High Court regarding the matter.

"Through our high commission in Islamabad, the government has also raised the matter of Ansari's well-being and his early release," Swarup said, adding that the ministry has requested the Pakistan government to allow Ansari to speak to his family.