The most recent incident in the long list of atrocities inflicted on inmates at various Indian jails have come out. Oh, nothing to worry about, right? They were all bad people anyway. Jailed for crimes. What is the big deal if a few are killed. Of course. Would you say the same if your children were killed at school as ‘punishment’ for having stolen a pencil or poked in the eye of a classmate?
As usual, when it comes to human rights, India excels in it. In not giving a damn about it. This is the reason why in Indian jails, the authorities think that inmates can be treated like cattle. Oh wait. In India cattle are revered. This is when prisons in other parts of the world are constantly thinking of methods to reduce the horror and pain for inmates and are succeeding. Do you know that the Dutch prisons have a crisis of not having enough inmates? Now take a look at the times when we have proclaimed without shame to the world that we suck.
1. Byculla Prison, Mumbai
A woman convict was beaten and killed in Byculla prison in Mumbai. A lathi was inserted into her private parts. Do you know why? Two eggs and five pieces of pav had gone missing from the jail. Her name was Manjula Shetye and she was someone who had been made warden of the ward because of her good behaviour. [Yes, it is possible to be good and in jail. Like how you can be horrible and not be in jail.]
So for the authorities, a couple of eggs and five pavs amounted more than a woman’s life. Why does it sound like it was just an excuse? Why are the jailors who killed a woman for something she never even did, jailors? Shouldn’t they be behind bars? The prisoners started agitating over this violence by the jailors. Isn’t it time to think whom we jail and for what reason? How many of our fellow beings would stand up and protest if one of us was tortured and killed?
2. Tihar Jail
A woman had complained that the warden was torturing her. Honey Sharma had made a plea to a Delhi court stating that the wardens had beat her up and had got other inmates, who Sharma said were HIV positive, to scratch her with their nails. She also said that they had tortured her child and that the warden’s intention was to get money from her.
So wardens want money from inmates? Doesn’t the Government of India pay them every month for keeping the same inmates safe? Or did they hear it wrong? Maybe they think that the government has put them there so that they can extract their monthly salary from the people struggling to find money for their own court cases. If they don’t give it use anything from lathis to nails to get them to do this. Wow! Isn’t that just lovely.
Someone should really film what happens in the training given to wardens before their recruitment. Chances are that nothing like that even takes place but if it does surely you would find hundred ways to extort money from prisoners in the syllabus.
3. The Human Rights Watch report
Shame does not come naturally to us. In fact we have none. It surfaces only when someone reports the shameful things we do. One time Indians hung their heads in this afterthought-shame was when the Human Rights Watch report stated the absolutely horrendous situation in prisons in India in elaborate detail. According to it, 50% of the women they interviewed spoke of abuse in police custody. Whipping with belts, caning on the soles of feet, pulling apart your hair by two police people from either side, hanging prisoners with a pole around the back of neck and arms are some of the modes of ‘punishment’ according to them.
Let’s get this straight. Sending people to jail in itself is punishment. Please get this straight. You should admit this. You take the freedom you have in this world for granted. If one day someone denies you the freedom to move about in it, go about your business as you like, it is imprisonment. But no, you think that is not enough, don’t you? All right. Why don’t you test if your mode of punishment is ‘good’ enough by doing it on people whom you hate outside. Why not? You have a lot of hatred and violence in you. Go unleash it on a free citizen. Don’t you dare complain when you end up in jail and a warden like yourself does these things to you. How do you like this turning of the table huh?
4. Custodial Deaths by Suicide, 2014 NHRC report
Most of the time the authorities do not have to kill an inmate themselves. The jailors torture the inmate so much so that they do it themselves. A custodial death is something that every jailor has to try to prevent but it looks like no one is trying enough. Do you know that the percentage of suicide in prisons is higher than the percentage of suicide outside it, in the country.
Yes. That’s right. Outside, people are all for public lynching of suspects, crying for their murder. Inside, they have the same people in the form of wardens to do the same. Noticed how a large number of suicides in prison happen under mysterious circumstances? Like this instance in which a woman was found in a kneeling position and at a height of just 4 feet. Yeah. The jailors sometimes defy gravity and science to ensure that custodial deaths happen and people only call them suicides.
Why send the guilty to prisons at all? Right after the court convicts them, why don’t you right there in the courtroom use your handsome guns which gives all of you this insane power and go bang bang. Don’t forget to call it suicide and ‘accidental death’. Your field of excellence. Lying.