London: There are 426 Indian citizens - 421 male and five female - undergoing sentences in British jails after being convicted for a variety of offences, latest figures show as demands grew to deport foreign prisoners to their home countries to serve their sentences.
Official sources said on Thursday that according to prison figures as of June 30, there were 2,093 prisoners with citizenship of countries in Asia, which included 426 from India. The number of prisoners with Pakistani citizenship was 472, Bangladesh 239 and Sri Lanka 141.
It was also said on Thursday that the British government is spending 3 million pounds every year in foreign countries to improve prison conditions there so that foreign prisoners could be deported home to complete the remaining period of their sentences.
A Ministry of Justice spokesperson would not say if part of the money would be spent to improve prison conditions in India, but said three projects were currently underway to achieve better prison conditions in Jamaica and Nigeria. Prisoners holding foreign citizenship in British jails currently number 10,861.
Amidst continuing efforts to reduce immigration, there are growing demands across the political spectrum to deport foreigners who break UK law and end up in prison here.
The spokesman added: "Foreign national prisoners should serve their sentences in their home country. We need to make sure these sentences are properly enforced, and work with other governments to share best practice, improve standards and ultimately save the British taxpayer money".
During the hearing of the case to extradite one of India's most wanted criminals, Tiger Hanif, to India, the Westminster Magistrates Court had sent a team to Gujarat to examine prison conditions there after Hanif's lawyers alleged that he would be tortured if sent there.
In May, the plea was overruled by a judge and his extradition was ordered. His extradition file is currently with Home secretary Theresa May, who needs to approve the extradition.
A Home Office spokesman said: "On Wednesday May 2, the case of Mohammad Patel, aka Tiger Hanif, was sent to the Secretary of State after the district judge found there were no statutory bars to his surrender under the Extradition Act 2003".
He added: "The Secretary of State will carefully consider the case and make a decision in due course".