Tihar authorities protocol defence has hollow ring
The Tihar Jail authorities on Wednesday came up with a meek defence on charges levelled by 68-year-old Naxalite ideologue Kobad Ghandy. An alumnus of Doon School and St Stephen’s College, <g data-gr-id="56">Ghandy</g> was arrested in 2009 on charges sedition for being a member of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist). <g data-gr-id="57">Ghandy</g> is on hunger strike against alleged harassment of being made to change his <g data-gr-id="67">ward</g> time and again.
In a press release issued by <g data-gr-id="42">Ghandy</g>, he <g data-gr-id="52">said :</g> “I have spent five and a half years in Tihar with the Delhi case nearing completion. Though routine (3 to 5 months) transfers of High-Risk Ward prisoners have been going on for four years, I was subjected to this only from August ‘14. This is the third time in nine months. Earlier, jail transfers were done only as a form of punishment.”
<g data-gr-id="36">Ghandy</g> has claimed that he was suffering from health problems, including hypertension, slip disc, arthritis, spondylitis and kidney ailments to name a few.
“While transferring we have to carry our bags ourselves (some 10-15 kg) go through set of detailed searches of all items, made to hang around at the jail gates for 4-5 hours waiting for the transport, packed like sardines with baggage into a single van and taken to the new jail gate,” his note said.
<g data-gr-id="37">Ghandy</g> also claimed that he has applied to put him in the senior citizen <g data-gr-id="38">wards</g> (above 65), or given similar facilities in the High-Risk ward – but to no avail.
On this the jail authorities said: “There is no senior citizen <g data-gr-id="48">ward</g> for the high-risk prisoners. But we do give special treatment to the senior citizens.”
The authorities claimed that it is a protocol of the jail which has been followed from ages. “The protocol says – the prisoners lodged in the high-security ward must be shifted within two months or three, due to security issues. <g data-gr-id="45">Ghandy</g> is not the first prisoner who is going through this protocol,” a source in Tihar said.
“There are as many as 150 prisoners lodged in the high-security ward and so far none of them <g data-gr-id="47">have</g> complained about the transfers. Also, <g data-gr-id="43">Ghandy</g> has issued a press release to <g data-gr-id="46">media,</g> but failed to write a single complaint to the jail authorities about the alleged <g data-gr-id="44">harrassment</g>,” the official said.