Torture of Prisoners

The Deputy Commissioner,
East Singhbhum,

Dear Madam,

Subject: Torture of the New Prisoners to Extort Money

We are receiving serious complaints from the inmates of the Sakchi Jail. These are as under: -

1) That it has become a practice in Sakchi Jail that whenever any under trial prisoners is taken in the custody, he is tortured.

2) That there are some convicted prisoners who have been put "in charge" of the wards by the jail authority. They are known as "Dabang" and Musclemen. These so called "in charges" in connivance with the jail Authority, start torturing the new comers. These new comers do not get place to sleep, food to eat, and toilet facilities. These musclemen threaten and terrorise them to bring money.

3) That depending upon the 'status of the prisoners the amount to be paid varies. Id any complaint is made with the 'Jail Sipahis' or the authority, the torture further increases and thus the new inmates become totally helpless and start pressing their relatives who over come to see them to give money to full fill the demand of the Jail Rangdars. There is no way the money can be given to them directly. Money is always given only through the gate attendance of the jail. This money is shared.

4) That on receipt of such complaints we met the jail Superintendent and the jailer in the month of April 2000 and requested him to take action to stop such illegal and inhuman practices in the jail. He assured then to take action on it.

5) That however, thereafter we received the complains of similar nature and the latest is the case of Krishna Pada Seal, Smt. Shilpi Seal (wife) and Raja Seal (son). Krishna Pada Seal and Shilpi are well known as singers and music teachers. Krishna Pada is Asthma patient.

6) That the 'seal' family was taken to Sakchi Jail Custody on 25.07.2000. From that day the Jail Rangdars started "operation" on them. They were so tortured and terrorized that they have asked their well wishers to bring money (Rs. 2500/-) by selling their, ornaments. Letters enclosed.

(7) That on receipt of the report of torture on these new inmates, we in a delegation went to the Sakchi Jail where we found the Jail Superintendent quite reluctant to talk us. In front of the Jail gate he only asked the Jailors ' ye dekho to kyaa hai' and then went away.

(8) That the Jailor however took some measures to see that the 'Seal' family is not harassed.
(9) That the environment of Sakchi Jail has become so vicious that this can not be an isolated case to be tackled. This has become most inhuman general practice.
(10) That we request you to take immediate step, to put all the Rangdari of the jail in separate cell. Also action should be taken after enquiry against the jail staff that through these Rangdars collect money from the under trial prisoners.

Krishnapado was suffering from Asthma. This was brought to the knowledge of the Jail Authority on the first day i.e. on 25.07.2000. But no treatment was provided to him. As per the directives of NHRC every new comers in the Jail should be medically checked and record of injuries and illnesses should be maintained. But this Jail Authorities here do not care to follow such practices.

As the medical treatment was not rendered to Krishnapado and the 'Jail Rangdars" instead continued with their "operation" of torturing Krishnapado, PUCL referred the matter to the Dy. Commissioner (East Singhbhum). On this however Krishnapado was transferred to Jail Hospital but by that time his condition deteriorated. At this stage the Jail doctor should have referred the case to Govt. Hospital or Tata Main Hospital. But the corrupt practice is that whoever pays handsomely to Jail doctors gets referred to outside Hospitals. There are some under trial prisoners, healthy but occupying the beds in the Jail Hospital. There are some who got themselves referred to Govt. Hospital outside. One accused of murder case, but a moneyed & influential man, is spending his time as under trial prisoner at AIR CONDITIONED CABIN OF TISCO MAIN HOSPITAL. Jail doctor all through was asking Krishnapado and his son to ask their relatives to meet him at his residence. He assured that once the relatives meet him (meaning pay him), he will give a certificate which can be used to facilities. Also he may refer Krishnapado to outside Govt. Hospital (if the demand is fulfilled).

The horrible and inhuman part of the case is the manner in which the dead body of Krishnapado was pushed in the Car on his release on Bail on 04.08.2000. The Jail staff forced the relatives (wife, son & 2/3 friends) to take the body to a Hospital. The Jail Authority thought once the body was out, it can not be termed as "Custodial death". Krishnapado was declared "brought dead" by TELCO Hospital Doctors. Police Administration of Telco P.S. wanted to send the body for post-mortem as natural death. Only after intervention of PUCL, Jamshedpur D.C. East Singhbhum asked the Executive Magistrate Mr. C.K. Mandal to enquire this matter and constituted a Board of Doctors to perform autopsy under Videography. Doctor declared that Krishnapado died of Asthma and he did not have any mark of Physical injury. The Jail Authorities through their influences propagated this to prove that they were not responsible for the death of Krishnapado. The Magistrate and the District Administration unfortunately not enquiring how Krishnapado met with threatening and ill treatment by "Jail Rangdars".

Though he was old and asthma patient still he was forced to remain in "Kainchi" (fetters) in the toilet area of the ward under the smell of night soils. Even when he was transferred to Jail hospital due to intervention of PUCL, he did not get proper treatment and ultimately died in the Jail Custody. Krishnapado son & wife are so terrified that they would not speak about all these because of fear and the reprisal.

If require any further information, please let us know the same. There are many letters sent from the Jail are with us. These letters tell the horrible condition of the Jail.

The torture, terrorising a threatening, beating of the prisoners of Sakchi Jail should be stopped immediately.

Yours faithfully,
For PUCL Jamshedpur
(S. Bhattacharjee)
President, Local branch and Member, National Council

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(PUCL Bulletin, Sept., 2000)