Yet Another Custodial Death
And this time it is in Saraikela, West Singhbhum, Jharkhand State.
Ganesh Tude (31) was lodged in jail custody a few months ago as an undertrial
prisoner. He fell ill while in custody. Due to inhuman and unhealthy condition
of Saraikela Jail and total absence of medical facilities, his condition
gradually deteriorated. He was removed to Saraikela Hospital in a critical
condition on 27th February 2001. The physician in Saraikela Hospital immediately
referred him to MGM Medical Hospital at Jamshedpur on the same day in
a condition when his death was imminent. Ganesh Tudu breathed his last
on the way before any treatment could be given.
On March 1, a Board of Doctors conducted autopsy at MGM Hospital in presence
of the Executive Magistrate, Sri Anjani Kumar Misra. Marks of injury were
visible in one side of his head and presence of blood was detected in
the mouth. The viscera has been collected and stored to be sent to Ranchi
for Pathological Test to ascertain the exact reasons for death.
It is pathetic that police and government authorities could not trace
his family members and the dead body was disposed of without the knowledge
of his family.
Saraikela jail leads the list in custodial deaths in the twin district
of Singhbhum. A study from 1995 onwards reveals that on an average one
prisoner die every alternate month. They were made to die because of the
following reasons: -
Ill fed and undernourished. Those who cannot pay are even starved.
Inhuman and cruel physical as well as mental torture by the Jail STAFF
AND 'Dabang' criminals known as 'writer'. These 'Danbang' criminals extort
money acting on behalf of the jail authorities.
Total absence of medical facilities. Jail doctors treat those who can
Doctors even give false certificates, refer the rich, and well-to-do prisoner
even to outside hospital. And others are left to die without any treatment
A worst kind of vicious circle exists in jail. The corrupt authority collect
huge sums from the prisoners. In case of custodial deaths, exchange of
money goes round for 'Managing' local Police, autopsy Doctors, the executive
magistrate or other investigating officer and even the video man and so
on. The wicked & long arms of jail authorities can even 'manage' other
high-ups who may include even Ministers.
There have been cases in the past when the dead body of the prisoners
were thrown out from Jail on the river bank for animals to feast on. News
clippings from different press reports are enclosed.
In the recent years, National Human Rights Commission has made most commendable
efforts in bringing about much needed reform in jails. Intervention and
action by NHRC against specific charges, the condition in jails have resulted
in noticeable improvement for some short periods and then after some time
it slides back to the same old pattern and practices. Those who are supposed
to visit jail regularly as a part of their government duty either do not
care to do it or does it in a casual manner and just put their signature
in the register having done their duty without seeing the actual condition
of the jail and the vicious corrupt practices prevailing inside the jails.
We strongly feel that until the culprit Jail authorities are brought to
book and given salutatory and exemplary punishment, things will not improve.
-- For PUCL Jamshedpur
(S. Bhattacharjee), President & Member, National Council