40 Tihar Jail inmates go on hunger strike, claims activist



New Delhi: Forty prisoners have gone on a hunger strike in Tihar Jail alleging various malpractices in the prison and demanding better facilities for them, claimed a human rights activist, prompting authorities to deny it.

Tihar Jail authorities denied any hunger strike by the prisoners and allegations levelled against them.

ND Pancholi, a human rights lawyer, told a news agency that 40 prisoners in Ward No 6 of Jail No 1 were on hunger strike from Tuesday in protest against "several malpractices and inhuman treatment meted out to them".

Pancholi claimed that he received a letter signed by 40 prisoners, including Mohd Arif who is on a death sentence in Red Fort attack case, following which he shot off a letter to Tihar Director General Vimla Mehra seeking her intervention.

The prisoners were on hunger strike alleging that they were "not able to get drinking water, proper food, medical treatment, recreational facilities, walking space and telephone facility", he said in the letter to Mehra.

They also alleged that prisoner's ration is illegally transferred to welfare canteen due to which food quality of prisoners' food has become degraded resulting in ailments, he claimed.

In the letter to the lawyer, the prisoners alleged that lack of recreational facilities has led to many prisoners becoming "regular psychiatric patients" and that high risk prisoners were being treated like "animals in zoo".

They alleged that the high risk prisoners were not provided telephonic contact with family despite directions from Delhi High Court.

Denying the allegations, Tihar Jail spokesperson Sunil Gupta said nobody was on hunger strike and there was no corruption as alleged by the prisoners.

"We function in a transparent manner. The prison is regularly visited by judicial officers," Gupta said.

PTI