Satyendra Kumar, Sunday, July 09, 2006 TIMES NEWS NETWORK
JEHANABAD: The Jehanabad jail has long been in the thick of controversy for some reason or other ranging from bloody clashes between warring groups of inmates to custodial deaths.
The jail hit the national and international headlines when the Maoists stormed it on November 13, 2005 and secured the release of more than 300 inmates including their comrades.
Another controversy which has rocked the jail recently is the death of two inmates allegedly due to lack of medical care. According to sources in the jail, of the total 900 prisoners currently lodged in the jail, nearly 300 are suffering from various types of diseases.
Some of the ailing prisoners whose condition is stated to be serious include Ramji Prasad, Birendra Prasad Yadav, Buddhan Yadav, Dhanraj Sharma, Dindayal Kudrasi, Surathi Yadav and Munakka Devi.
It sources are to be believed, basic amenities in Jehanabad jail have not improved a wee bit even after the infamous "Operation Jailbreak". The appalling overcrowding in the jail is evident from the fact that as against the declared capacity of 140 prisoners, over 900 prisoners are lodged there.
Overcrowding has led to a piquant health situation in the jail with sanitation and provision of other basic amenities lying in tatters. A jail term is in itself enough punishment for a convicted person. But the Jehanabad jail gives custodial torture a new dimension.
The pitiable plight of the jail is to be seen to be believed. "It is a misnomer to call it a jail. It is, in fact, a virtual hell-hole where we all are languishing," aptly said an inmate.
As things stand today, sub-human conditions exist in the jail. The prisoners are huddled together like goats where they hardly get any space even for a nap. Provision of medical aid to the sick is far from satisfactory in the absence of a full-fledged medical ward.
To cap it all, it is shocking to find that even after being declared thoroughly unfit for human habitation way back in 1984, the same old, dilapidated building is being used to accommodate some of the prisoners thus exposing the hollowness of the apex court's repeated resolve to guarantee the right of life in prisons.
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