Ahmedabad: Even as the prison authorities on Monday
submitted in the Gujarat High court that there was no “severe
beating” of the Sabarmati jail inmates, mostly Muslims, the
relatives of the inmates who met them inside the jail today said
that as many as 22 inmates were severely beaten up and are in a
Speaking to TwoCircles.net, the
relatives of the inmates alleged that the prison authorities
were neither providing them treatment nor giving adequate food,
thus allowing the condition of inmates from bad to worse.
According to relatives, inmates were attacked when they were
performing `salat’ or `namaz’ at around 5:15 p.m. and were in
prostrating posture (sajda).
Though the alleged physical
torture of the inmates had been going on for more than a week,
the relatives came to know of it when an advocate linked to NGO
Jan Sangharsh Manch (JSM) Shamshad Pathan visited the jail
premises in connection with some legal matters.
Their doubts were further
confirmed when neither relatives nor the advocates fighting the
cases of these inmates were allowed to have meeting with the
inmates inside the jail on Saturday (March 28). The jail
authorities had fixed Saturday as the day for allowing POTA and
July 26 Ahmedabad serial bomb blasts undertrials to meet their
relatives and advocates. Most of those targeted by the police
and jail staff for torture are POTA accused in post-Godhra 2002
cases or Jul 26 serial blasts.
However, after three days of
moving from pillar to post to secure permission, family members
of the inmates finally managed to visit the jail on Monday
evening. And what they saw inside the jail in 10 to 15 minutes
as they were allowed only a short visit was very terrifying.
According to the relatives, most
of the inmates beaten up by jail and police staff have sustained
head injuries and got their legs and hands fractured. And most
of them were not in a position to stand and walk and even to go
to toilet to answer the nature’s call.
Bomb blast accused and an undertiral Shamsuddin’s mother
Nasimbano alleged that her son had been beaten so seriously that
he was notable to walk and even sit.
“Shamsuddin has suffered serious injuries on back side of his
head and both of his legs and hands have been broken”, she said,
after visiting the jail.
She also alleged that her son was
not being provided medication nor was he given proper and
adequate food; with the result
he had become weak and lean. “The
jail has been converted into a torture cell”, she charged.
Farzana, wife of Arif Sheikh,
d that Arif had got fractured both
of his hands due to severe beatings and one of his ribs had also
broken, making it extremely difficult for him to sit or walk.
Another inmate Zahid Sheikh’s
sister Saleha was very angry while talking to reporters as,
according to her, police and jail staffers urinated on her
brother before beating him when he was in prayer.
She refuted the charges of the
jail and police officials that inmates indulged into clashes
with jail staff and this forced the policemen to resort to lathi
charge. “it is a false and fabricated thesis of the police and
jail staffers to hide and justify their crimes”, she stated.
Shazia, wife of Sajid Mansuri
considered to be one of the main accused in the July 26 serial
bomb blasts, alleged that Sajid was performing `Asr’ prayers and
was in `sajda’(prostrating position with his head on the ground)
when the cops began hitting him on head and legs.
“My husband has suffered serious
injuries on the back of his head and both the legs are
fractured. There are severe injuries on both the arms, including
fingers”, she said.
According to her, Sajid was also being denied food, barring a
cup of milk. She alleged that there was no medical treatment,
except pain killers, given to him.
Afsanabano, wife of Yunus Mansuri, another blast accused,
alleged that a group of about 20 cops attacked her husband when
he was offering prayers. She alleged that jail authorities were
neither sending the injured to the government hospital outside
for treatment nor making medical arrangement in the jail.
She alleged that cops asked Yunus
not to narrate the story of torture but talk about personal
family matters only. She was also allegedly advised by the cops
not to talk to media about conditions in the jail.
When questioned about provocation,
Afsanabano said there was no provocation at all from inmates’
side. On being asked that inmates were reported to have attacked
the jail staff with weapons, she retorted: “even food was
checked by the jail staff before being allowed inside, how then
the inmates could procure weapons as alleged by the jail
Vaddoara-based Hameedabano, mother
of another blast accused Imran Sheikh, told mediapersons that
her son was badly beaten in the abdomen by cops. His right hand
With tears rolling down her eyes,
mother of another undertrial Gayasduddin alleged that the life
of her son was in danger as the cops had beaten her son very
badly. “I could not ever imagine that policemen would be so
savage,” she said.
Court asks for report from jail
Meanwhile, the court of designated metropolitan magistrate G
M Patel hearing the cases of the serial bomb blasts accused on
Monday directed the jail authorities to submit a report on the
injuries sustained by the accused and the treatment provided to
them within a period of two days. The magistrate also allowed
two defence lawyers Javedkhan Pathan and I M Munshi to meet the
inmates on March 31.
IGP(Prison) denies the
allegation of beating
In an affidavit submitted to a division bench comprising
chief justice K S Radhakrishnan and Justice Akil Kureshi of the
Gujarat high court on Monday (March 30), Inspector General of
Police (prisons) Keshav Kumar denied there was any “severe
beatings” of the inmates. The affidavit was submitted by him in
response to a notice issued to him by the court on March 27 on a
public interest litigation filed by Jan Sangharsh Manch
representative Shamshad Pathan.
However, the high court asked
Ahmedabad additional sessions judge P B Desai to submit a report
of the incident inside the jail by April 3 and fixed the next
hearing on April 6.
In his petition, Pathan had
alleged that several inmates were subjected to severe torture
and inhuman treatment by jail superintendent V Chandrashekhar
who had in fact created an atmosphere of terror in the jail and
had violated all norms of a civilized society. He had also
demanded immediate transfer of Chandrashekhar.
Pathan’s petition had pointed out
that one Akbar, a convicted prisoner was severely beaten and his
leg was fractured. Another prisoner Silvester who was one of the
witness in the infamous Sohrabuddin fake-encounter case and
brought from Udaipur (Rajasthan) on March 20, 2009 was brutally
beaten. He was handcuffed on one hand and another hand was tied
with the bars of the ventilator and was made to stand facing the
wall and was brutally beaten on back with sticks by
Chandrashekhar. It was also reported that his life was in
According to Pathan’s petition, a
Nigerian undertrial Louis was also severely beaten. Two
prisoners Ashraf Ismail Nagori and Rahim alias Ferozkhan Pathan
convicted under POTA were denied medical treatment.
Apart from specific complaints of
brutality and atrocity committed on prisoners, Pathan had
submitted that the jail authorities were completely
unsympathetic towards the welfare of the prisoners. Knowingly
and deliberately they flouted the directions given by the
Gujarat High Court in its order dated May 7, 2004 in Special
Civil Application No.16198/2003. He submitted that
Chandrashekhar after taking over the administration of Sabarmati
Central Jail had curtailed all the amenities and welfare
measures which the prisoners were entitled to under law.
Human rights organizations
Meanwhile, several human rights group and organisations have
condemned the alleged torture of inmates in the Sabarmati jail.
The All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat (AIMMM) said that Chief
Minister Narendra Modi’s handpicked jailors are subjecting
prisoners to continuous inhuman treatment and denying them
medical treatment and visits by relatives and lawyers.
Fr. Cedric Prakash of NGO Prashant
described the incident as barbaric and demanded immediate
restoration of human rights of the inmates in the prison and
action against the guilty police and prison authorities.
PUCL activist J S Bandukwala
described the incident very heinous deserving severe
condemnation. But he said that one could not expect anything
good in Modi’s Gujarat.
Senior lawyer and representative of NGO Jan Sangharsh Manch
demanded setting up of a court commission comprising of
advocates, court official and a government official other than
the police to inquire into the issue and submit a report to the
Gujarat High Court for initiating action in the matter.