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Category: Prison conditions

Kin harried as phone calls of undertrials discontinued

Kin harried as phone calls of undertrials discontinued

‘Emotional Torture’: Why Don’t Indian Jails Give Inmates a Right to Phone Calls?

16/11/2021

The Quint / by Vakasha Sachdev

With pandemic restrictions easing, many states are once more taking away the option to call families and lawyers.
Dear Reader,
The Indian criminal justice system is plagued by apathy, indifference and indeed, injustice. This story is The Quint’s effort to ensure that the many everyday tragedies of this system do not remain mere statistics. It’s the story of Archana, who will have to travel for eight hours and wait in line for as long, to meet her imprisoned brother Vinod for 5-7 minutes. Of Sahba, whose partner Gautam is an undertrial in a jail in a different part of the country, who will no longer be allowed to speak to him on the phone.

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Kin harried as phone calls of undertrials discontinued

15/11/2021

The Indian Express / by Sadaf Modak

The prison department has decided to discontinue phone calls and video calls from prisoners after physical mulaqats (meetings) were resumed last month.
It has been a month since Sahba Husain spoke to her partner, Gautam Navlakha, lodged at Taloja Central Jail in Navi Mumbai as an undertrial in the Elgaar Parishad case. Husain is one of the many family members affected by the decision by the Maharashtra prison department to discontinue phone calls and video calls from prisoners after physical mulaqats (meetings) were resumed last month.
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How the ‘anda cell’ is used to discipline inmates / Do we run to courts for basic human rights? / Video

How the ‘anda cell’ is used to discipline inmates / Do we run to courts for basic human rights? / Video

How the ‘anda cell’ is used to discipline prison inmates

28/10/2021

The Indian Express / by Jinee Lokaneeta

The torturous practice of solitary confinement, whether for 24 hours or a large part of a day, remains a key feature of modern prisons, sometimes by another name. The continued use of an “anda” (egg-shaped) cell or high security cell in the Indian context appears to be, in effect, the use of solitary confinement — defined by many as cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or torture — by another name. The news that eminent journalist and human rights activist and scholar implicated in the Bhima Koregaon case, Gautam Navlakha, has been moved to an “anda” circle in Taloja jail on October 12 is just another reminder that imprisonment itself appears inadequate for the state.
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Do we run to courts for basic human rights? asks Navlakha’s partner, says he’s not allowed to call

27/10/2021

The Print / by Bismee Taskin

Sahba Husain says the rights activist has also been denied access to the library, canteen and jail’s green areas ever since he was shifted to the high-security Anda cell.
It was in April last year when human rights activist Gautam Navlakha surrendered before the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the Bhima Koregaon case.
Since then Navlakha has been in prison — first in Delhi’s Tihar jail and then in the Taloja jail in Mumbai. Earlier this month, the 70-year-old, along with five other accused, was shifted to the high-security ‘Anda cell’ of the Mumbai prison.
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Also watch: Book Launch “Colours of the Cage”


en | 1h 10min | 2014
‘Colours of the Cage’ is the real story of what goes on behind bars – it isn’t like the celluloid or novelistic versions that readers are familiar with. However, it is not just a harrowing account of life in prison but also a memoir of astonishing power – about a man’s stubborn fight for justice and the triumph of the human will.
This video was recorded at the launch of Arun’s book ‘Colours of the Cage’ on the 26th of September, 2014 at the Press Club, Mumbai. Seated on the dais from the left, are journalist-author Naresh Fernandes, author-poet Varavara Rao, Arun Ferreira and playwright-director Ramu Ramanathan.
Watch video


Also read:
Kin of jailed activists write to authorities to not discontinue telephone calls (Sabrangindia / Oct 25, 2021)

Condemn The Solitary Confinement Of The Bhima Koregaon Accused!

Condemn The Solitary Confinement Of The Bhima Koregaon Accused!

By Peoples Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR)

CONDEMN THE SOLITARY CONFINEMENT AND CONTINUING HARASSMENT OF THE BHIMA KOREGAON ACCUSED BY TALOJA CENTRAL JAIL AUTHORITIES!
STOP PUNISHING POLITICAL PRISONERS FOR THEIR BELIEFS!

The high handedness of the Taloja Central Jail administration was evident in the events leading to the death of the octogenarian Bhima Koregaon undertrail, Stan Swamy on July 5, 2021. Almost immediately, the remaining BK undertrials protested the arbitrary jail conditions imposed by the then Superintendent, Kaustabh Kurlekar by observing a one-day hunger strike. However, far from bringing such persecution to an end, a new repressive regime has been installed by Superintendent UT Pawar. Its latest manifestation is the transfer of Vernon Gonsalves, Sagar Gokhale, Ramesh Gaichor, Surendra Gadling, Sudhir Dhawale and most recently on 12 October 2021 Gautam Navlakha to the ‘anda’ circle, the high security prison area in Taloja Jail. Imprisonment in the anda cell is a form of solitary confinement which is blatantly illegal in the case of undertrial prisoners.
Read full statement

Allow phone calls with prisoners, say kin of Elgar Parishad accused

Allow phone calls with prisoners, say kin of Elgar Parishad accused

Allow phone calls with prisoners, say kin of Elgar Parishad accused

26/10/2021

Times of India / by Shishir Arya

Relatives of the Elgar Parishad case accused lodged in jail have demanded that the special facility of allowing phone calls by prisoners started during the Covid pandemic should not be discontinued. The facility has been demanded for all the prisoners, irrespective of the cases under which they have been held.
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Kin of jailed activists write to authorities to not discontinue telephone calls

25/10/2021

Sabrangindia / by Sabrangindia

Since prisons are all set to resume physical mulaqats, the authorities have informed the families that weekly calls will no longer be functional.
The family members of the accused undertrials in the Bhima Koregaon violence case, have written to the Additional Director General of Police (Prisons) and Special Inspector General of Police (Prisons) to continue the weekly phone calls with them.
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Gautam Navlakha’s health has worsened in jail, not being allowed phone calls, says his partner

Gautam Navlakha’s health has worsened in jail, not being allowed phone calls, says his partner

Phone calls, daily walks in jail’s green area stopped, says Navlakha’s partner

24/10/2021

The Hindu / by Special Correspondent

His fragile health and well-being will be further jeopardised by these actions, says Sahba Husain.
Activist and journalist Gautam Navlakha, who was arrested in the Bhima Koregaon case in 2020, has recently been shifted to a high-security section of the Taloja jail in Navi Mumbai and not allowed to call his family and lawyers, said his partner, Sahba Husain, in a statement on Sunday.
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Gautam Navlakha’s health has worsened in jail, not being allowed phone calls, says his partner

24/10/2021

Scroll.in / by Scroll Staff

The health condition of activist Gautam Navlakha deteriorated after he was shifted to the high-security barrack called the “Anda circle” in Navi Mumbai’s Taloja Jail, his partner Sahba Husain said on Sunday.
In a statement, Husain also said that the Bhima Koregaon case accused was not being allowed to make phone calls to his family members and lawyers.
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Full Statement by Sabha Husain

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Only ‘objectionable’ letters are being withheld by prison authorities: NIA to Bombay HC

Only ‘objectionable’ letters are being withheld by prison authorities: NIA to Bombay HC

Only ‘objectionable’ letters of accused are being withheld by prison authorities: NIA to Bombay HC

23/10/2021

Sabrangindia / by Sabrangindia

Families of accused persons Anand Teltumbde and Vernon Gonsalves have alleged that the prison authorities are withholding letters sent to and received from the jailed activities.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA), that is investigating the Bhima Koregaon violence case, has informed the Bombay high court that jail authorities are only withholding “objectionable” letters written by the Bhima Koregaon accused.
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Anand Teltumbde’s Letters Alleged Planting Of Evidence On Computer, Had Objectionable Contents, Hence Withheld: NIA

23/10/2021

Live Law / by Sharmeen Hakim

Taloja Prison officials only restricted “objectionable” and “incriminating” letters written by Professor Anand Teltumbde and activist Vernon Gonsalves as it was “hampering the trial” and material against them in the Bhima-Koregaon Elgar Parishad Case, the National Investigating Agency has said.
The NIA’s reply responds to their wives’ – Rama Teltumbde and Susan Abraham’s – plea in the Bombay High Court seeking action against the then Superintendent of Taloja Prison for withholding communication with family.
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Only those letters of accused with suspicious content withheld: NIA to Bombay High Court

23/10/2021

Bar & Bench / by Neha Joshi

The NIA’s submission came in response to a plea by wives of Anand Teltumbde and Vernon Gonsalves, alleging that superintendent of Taloja Central Prison was withholding letters sent to and received from family members.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has told the Bombay High Court that not all letters written by Bhima Koregaon accused to their family members are being withheld by the jail superintendent.
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The Prison Song of Surendra Gadling

The Prison Song of Surendra Gadling

The Wire / by Sukanya Shantha

While out on temporary bail in August, the rights activist sang a song written by Kabir Kala Manch’s Ramesh Gaichor for his friends and colleagues about the sordid conditions in prison.
Mumbai: Surendra Gadling, a human rights lawyer from Nagpur, has always considered courtrooms his stage. Between serious arguments, he would casually break into songs of cultural and political resistance. He would be commonly found invoking political theories and remembering shahirs from the Dalit community amid serious legal arguments. His court appearances usually attracted an eager audience from among his peers and junior lawyers.
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Video: The Prison Song of Surendra Gadling

hindi | 11min | 2021

51- year-old Gadling, a well-known criminal lawyer in Nagpur, was once a cultural activist, who sang songs of political resistance. The 11- minutes- long rendition tells you what it means to be incarcerated in Indian prisons. From food, water, to medical care, everything is a struggle, Gadling narrates. The song was recorded by one of Gadling’s colleagues and was made available to The Wire after obtaining his consent.
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Also read: India’s Jail Stats: 7 In 10 Undertrials, 1 In 3 Dalit/Adivasi (IndiaSpend / Oct 2021)

Silence from Maharashtra authorities on letter on Father Stan Swamy’s jail torment

Silence from Maharashtra authorities on letter on Father Stan Swamy’s jail torment

Silence on letter on Father Stan Swamy’s jail torment

12/10/2021

The Telegraph / by Pheroze L. Vincent

A three-month-old letter by three Elgaar Parishad co-accused alleging “institutional murder” of Father Stan Swamy and accusing then Taloja prison superintendent Kaustubh Kurlekar of mistreating him has yet to evoke any response from the Maharashtra authorities it was sent to.
The letter alleged the 84-year-old Jesuit and tribal rights defender from Jharkhand was strip-searched “in front of the entire staff” when he was brought to the jail, and was kept in isolation so the Parkinson’s patient could not receive any help from fellow prisoners.
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Stan Swamy’s Death was an Institutional Murder: Co-inmates write to Uddhav Thackeray

06/10/2021

NewsClick / by Parth M.N.

The letter holds the superintendent of Taloja Prison, Kaustubh Kurlekar, responsible for Swamy’s death, and accuses him of purposely emasculating Swamy’s physical health and mental resolve.
Three political prisoners arrested in the Bhima Koregaon-Elgar Parishad case have written a letter to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Uddhav Thackeray. The letter claims that father Stan Swamy, a tribal rights activist based in Jharkhand, did not die a natural death. “It was an institutional murder,” says the letter, signed by human rights lawyer Surendra Gadling, and cultural activists Ramesh Gaichor and Sagar Gorkhe, who were eyewitnesses to the treatment meted out to Swamy in prison.
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NIA tells Mumbai HC objectionable material in letters by accused to family published in The Caravan

NIA tells Mumbai HC objectionable material in letters by accused to family published in The Caravan

NIA tells Mumbai HC objectionable material in letters by accused to family published in The Caravan

10/10/2021

Bar & Bench / by Neha Joshi

NIA opposed the plea filed before Bombay High Court by wives of Teltumbde and Gonsalves, against the Superintendent of Taloja Prison, accusing him of withholding letters sent to and received from their family members.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has opposed the plea filed before Bombay High Court by wives of Bhima Koreagon accused Anand Teltumbde and Vernon Gonsalves, against the Superintendent of Taloja Central Prison, accusing him of withholding letters sent to and received from their family members.
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HC seeks reply on plea by wives of accused seeking probe into ‘restrictions’ on letters

09/10/2021

The Indian Express / by Express News Service

The Bombay High Court on Friday directed the state prison authority and the NIA to file a reply to the plea by the wives of Elgaar Parishad case accused Anand Teltumbde and Vernon Gonsalves, who are lodged in Taloja Central Jail in Navi Mumbai, seeking an inquiry for allegedly restricting the two activists from writing letters to their spouses and lawyers.
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Jail Authorities Are Blocking Letters From Elgar Parishad Arrested to Their Loved Ones

Jail Authorities Are Blocking Letters From Elgar Parishad Arrested to Their Loved Ones

The Wire / by Sukanya Shantha

After Father Stan Swamy’s death in July, Sudhir Dhawale penned an emotional letter. But Taloja jail authorities decided nobody should read it.
When 84-year-old Jharkhand-based tribal rights activist and Jesuit priest Father Stan Swamy passed away on July 5, one of his co-accused in the Elgar Parishad case, Sudhir Dhawale, penned an emotional poem. Dhawale, a writer and anti-caste activist from Mumbai who is currently jailed at the Taloja central prison, wrote an eight-page poem describing his first meeting with Swamy, their interactions in jail and Swamy’s contribution to the tribal rights movement in Jharkhand. He titled the poem Pathalgadicha Father or the ‘Father of Pathalgadi’.
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