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Category: Prison conditions

Maharashtra jails, hospitals: Iron curtain on Covid-19 ‘violates’ right to life, says PUCL

Maharashtra jails, hospitals: Iron curtain on Covid-19 ‘violates’ right to life, says PUCL

Counterview / by Counterview Desk

In first of the “Lockdown on Civil Liberties” series, the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), has pointed towards how many of the convicted prisoners in Maharashtra whose parole is depended on the prison authorities managed to get paroled as some of the prison authorities were keen to remove congestion amidst Covid-19 onslaught. However, undertrials, many them human rights activists and scholars, charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), failed to get bail even on pure humanitarian grounds.
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Report: Lockdown on Civil Liberties I – A PUCL (Maharashtra) series

03/09/2020

By PUCL (Maharashtra)

The Lockdown on Civil Liberties Series The lockdown and attendant issues have led to major violations of civil liberties and human rights… In this context the PUCL Maharashtra has decided to bring out various segmantwise reports to record the impact. While some of the reports like the present one focuses on Maharashtra others deal with all India situation.
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Fr Stan Swamy: I deeply appreciate the overwhelming solidarity expressed by many

Fr Stan Swamy: I deeply appreciate the overwhelming solidarity expressed by many

By Fr Stan Swamy SJ

First of all, I deeply appreciate the overwhelming solidarity expressed by many during these past 100 days behind the bars. At times, news of such solidarity has given me immense strength and courage especially when the only thing certain in prison is uncertainty.
Life here is on a day-to-day basis. Another strength during these past hundred days, has been in observing the plight of the undertrials. A majority of them come from economically & socially weaker communities. Many of such poor undertrials don’t know what charges have been put on them, have not seen their charge sheet and just remain in prison for years without any legal or other assistance. Overall, almost all undertrials are compelled to live to a bare minimum, whether rich or poor. This brings in a sense of brotherhood & communitarianism where reaching out to each other is possible even in this adversity. On the other hand, we sixteen co-accused have not been able to meet each other, as we are lodged in different jails or different ‘circles’ within the same jail. But we will still sing in chorus. A caged bird can still sing.
Fr. Stan Swamy

Sudha Bharadwaj allowed access to 5 books per month from outside jail

Sudha Bharadwaj allowed access to 5 books per month from outside jail

Sudha Bharadwaj allowed access to 5 books per month from outside jail

14/01/2021

Hindustan Times / by Charul Shah

The special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court on Tuesday allowed access to books from outside the prison, to activist and lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj.
The special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court on Tuesday allowed access to books from outside the prison, to activist and lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj. The court has, however, asked the prison authorities to check the contents, if they are objectionable, before allowing the same.
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NIA Court Allows Sudha Bharadwaj’s Application Seeking Access To Five Books A Month From Outside

14/01/2021

Live Law / by Nitish Kashyap

The special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court on Tuesday allowed access of five books a month to lawyer and activist Sudha Bharadwaj, who is a accused in the caste based violence that took place on the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Bhima Koregaon on January 1, 2018.
Special Judge DE Kothalikar directed the Superintendent of Byculla District Prison to grant the access of books to Sudha Bharadwaj with the condition that the said books will be examined by him.
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Why is India denying prisoners spectacles and straws?

Why is India denying prisoners spectacles and straws?

BBC News / by Geeta Pandey

Life in prison is expected to be tough.
But in recent weeks, jail authorities in India have been called out for being especially cruel to prisoners, particularly the government’s critics who are described as “human rights defenders” by international rights groups.
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Post unlockdown: Prison population increases to 31,000 in Maharashtra

Post unlockdown: Prison population increases to 31,000 in Maharashtra


Drawing by Arun Ferreira

The Indian Express / by Sadaf Modak

While at one point during the lockdown, the inmate population had reduced to nearly 24,000 – a little over its official capacity of 23,217 – nearly half of the state’s prisons are overcrowded again, some housing inmates more than double their capacities
Five of the six prisons are overcrowded. At Taloja jail, which had fewer inmates than its capacity of 2,124 before the lockdown, now has 4,080 inmates. The jail, which has inmates including the 10 male accused in the Elgaar Parishad case, Yes Bank founder Rana Kapoor, ICICI Bank-Videocon case’s Deepak Kochhar, continues to receive most of the new arrests from four districts.
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India’s 21st-century dungeons – Government is tardy with revealing jail data

India’s 21st-century dungeons – Government is tardy with revealing jail data

UCA News / by John Dayal

A little plastic hollow straw, much like the one you’d get with fresh tender coconut or cold drink at a roadside eatery, has gained much attention not just on the vagaries of the law of the land and its courts, but even more on the conditions in the prisons in India.
It took several weeks for 84-year-old Jesuit Father Stan Swamy–in prison as a mere suspect in a trumped-up conspiracy called the Bhima-Koregaon case–to get the plastic drinking straw, which he needs to take a sip of water or tea because his Parkinson’s disease afflicted hands can bare hold the cup. He is not yet an undertrial, and certainly not a convict.
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When saints are in prison: Custody as a form of torture

When saints are in prison: Custody as a form of torture

The Quint / by Kaleeswaram Raj

Incarceration is not mere curtailment of freedom. It is a diminution of human dignity. And today, one is forced to think that individual dignity in India is in deep crisis.
It is amazing to watch the Supreme Court building that symbolises a wonderful architectural tradition. It is more so when one looks at the flock of birds that fly over the court’s tomb, epitomising universal liberty, a theme that the Constitution tried to imbibe. It contains provisions for certain fundamental rights even for non-citizens. Article 21 promises right to life and personal liberty to ‘any person’. The court has interpreted life to always mean dignified life.
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Taloja jail says new spectacles given to Navlakha; govt to probe / Making a spectacle

Taloja jail says new spectacles given to Navlakha; govt to probe / Making a spectacle


Drawing by Arun Ferreira

Taloja jail says new spectacles given to Navlakha; govt to probe

11/12/2020

The Indian Express / by Sadaf Modak

Navlakha (69), who was arrested by the NIA, had told his partner Sahba Husain that his spectacles were stolen in the jail.
Taloja Central Jail authorities said a new pair of spectacles has been made and handed over to activist Gautam Navlakha, lodged in the prison in connection to the Elgaar Parishad case, on Thursday.
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Making a spectacle

11/12/2020

The Indian Express / by Indian Express Editorial

Bombay HC is right to underline the need for dignity for undertrials. Speedy justice must also be made a priority.
The weeks that it took for a straw and a sipper to reach an 83-year-old tribal rights activist afflicted with Parkinson’s; the time it took for authorities in a Mumbai jail to turn away a pair of spectacles meant for a civil rights activist — both, among many other instances, are a measure of the gap between human dignity and the justice system.
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Also Read:

From Segregation to Labour, Manu’s Caste Law Governs the Indian Prison System

10/12/2020

The Wire / by Sukanya Shantha

In several states, prison manuals still dictate that labour within the prison should be assigned on the basis of caste.
On his first day at the Alwar district prison, Ajay Kumar* was gearing up for the worst. Torture, stale food, biting cold and harsh labour – Bollywood had already acquainted him with the grisly realities of jails. “Gunah batao (Tell me your crime),” a police constable, placed at the undertrial (UT) section, asked him as soon as he was escorted inside a tall iron gateway.
Ajay had barely mumbled something, when the constable snapped, “Kaun jaati (Which caste)?” Unsure, Ajay paused and then hesitantly said, “Rajak”.
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After jail refuses to give Gautam Navlakha his glasses, Maharashtra orders inquiry

After jail refuses to give Gautam Navlakha his glasses, Maharashtra orders inquiry

After jail refuses to give activist Gautam Navlakha his glasses, Maharashtra orders inquiry

10/12/2020

Scroll.in / by Scroll Staff

Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said the that the situation should have been handled humanly.
Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Thursday ordered an inquiry into Taloja Jail authorities’ refusal to accept a package containing activist Gautam Navlakha’s spectacles. The 70-year-old civil rights campaigner is an accused in the Bhima Koregaon case.
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Taloja Jail to Gautam Navlakha’s partner Sahba Husain: Resend glasses, we will accept it this time

08/12/2020

Free Press Journal / by Bhavna Uchil & Narsi Benwal

Authorities at the Taloja jail have asked civil liberties activist Gautam Navlakha’s partner Sahba Husain to resend the new pair of spectacles she had sent for him, which they had refused to accept earlier, assuring her they would accept it this time.
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After Stan Swamy struggled for his sipper, jailed Gautam Navlakha can’t get his spectacles

07/12/2020

Scroll.in / by Scroll Staff

Navlakha’s partner said he ‘is close to blind without his glasses’, but jail authorities have refused to accept a parcel containing new spectacles.
The Taloja Jail authorities in Mumbai have refused to accept a parcel containing the spectacles of civil rights campaigner Gautam Navlakha, his partner Sabha Hussain said in a statement shared on Monday.
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Taloja Jail Authorities Deny Newly Made Spectacles to Gautam Navlakha

07/12/2020

The Wire / by The Wire Staff

Navlakha was arrested in April for his alleged connection with the Bhima Koregaon case.
Gautam Navlakha, nearly 70, patient of several ailments, had his spectacles stolen on November 27. Close to blind without his glasses, he was not even permitted to call his home for a replacement until three days later, but even that call proved futile.
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To Why Stan Swamy, 83, Couldn’t Get A Straw, Probe Agency’s 10-Point Reply

To Why Stan Swamy, 83, Couldn’t Get A Straw, Probe Agency’s 10-Point Reply

To Why Stan Swamy, 83, Couldn’t Get A Straw, Probe Agency’s 10-Point Reply

30/11/2020

NDTV / by Neeta Sharma

Father Stan Swamy, the 83-year-old tribal rights activist who suffers from Parkinson’s disease and was arrested last month over his alleged involvement in the Bhima-Koregaon case, couldn’t get a straw and sipper for around four weeks because the National Investigation Agency (NIA) didn’t have them, the agency has said.
In a 473-word news release divided into 10 points, the agency on Sunday said it never confiscated Mr Swamy’s straw and sipper during his arrest nearly two months ago. “NIA had conducted his personal search in presence of independent witnesses and no such straw and sipper were found,” it said.
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How the legal process played football with Parkinson’s patient Stan Swamy’s sipper & straw

30/11/2020

The Print / by Bhadra Sinha & Poojarsi Ganesan

A special NIA court has rejected Jesuit priest and Parkinson’s patient Stan Swamy’s request for a sipper & straw after giving probe agency 20 days to respond.
Is an inmate required to wait for a month to get basic articles, such as a sipper and straw for a Parkinson’s patient?
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