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Mumbai jail’s women inmates go on hunger strike

More than two dozen women inmates of the Byculla district jail here have gone on a hunger strike, protesting poor hygiene and improper food served to them, a lawyer said Monday.

‘The inmates have been complaining since long about the inferior quality and inadequate quantity of food served to them twice daily by the jail authorities,’ said lawyer Ganesh Sovani, who represents Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast that killed six people and left over 100 injured.

Sadhvi Pragya in recent past submitted two memoranda to jail official Surendra Kumar, highlighting these aspects, but nothing has been done to improve the situation, Sovani told.

A junior official who answered the phone claimed that everything was ‘fine’ in the jail and there was no hunger strike by anybody.

The immediate provocation for the hunger strike was the alleged roughing up of a woman inmate from Chandrapur by a woman police sub-inspector Monday.

The protesting women inmates complained that they were served only two chapatis, some rice and dal for lunch and dinner, besides morning and evening tea, which was not sufficient.

They also complained about the unhygienic conditions in the bathrooms and toilets and the poor state of mattresses in the jail that houses 200 inmates.

The prisoners complained that they were not provided escort to go to court and consequently they missed their hearings and continued to languish in jail, Sovani added.

The next hearing on Sadhvi Pragya’s bail application before the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act court’s Special Judge Y.D. Shinde is scheduled for Dec 29.

The National Investigation Agency will file its response to her bail application on the next date, Sovani said.




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