Prisoners in Medininagar Central Jail have been sitting on hunger strike on a 5-point agenda since 13 September, martyrdom day of the great revolutionary Yatindra Nath Das.
CPIML leader Avinash Ranjan, son of CPIML leader BN Singh undergoing life sentence in Medininagar Central Jail, said that when his father sat on hunger strike on 13 September to demand jail transfer, 30-40 prisoners sat on hunger strike with him. From 14 September, dozens of prisoners have been sitting on serial hunger strike. But the jail authorities are not paying any heed to the main 5-point agenda of the prisoners on hunger strike.
It should be remembered that the great revolutionary Bhagat Singh and his comrades had also sat on hunger strike in jail to demand human rights for political prisoners, during which on the 63rd day of the hunger strike the great revolutionary Yatindra Das died in jail on 13 September 1929. Even after independence there have been hardly any jail reforms in our country and many provisions of British times are still included in the jail manual.
The demands of the prisoners are:
- Ensure 3-monthly meeting of Prisoners Revision Council and free without delay prisoners who were deprived of release in the 2020 meeting, keeping in view the Corona pandemic crisis.
- Ensure transfer to Open Jail for prisoners deprived of release as well as prisoners who have completed more than half of their sentence.
- Release prisoners on the basis of recommendation by jail officials instead of social investigation.
- In addition to food, clothing and shelter, prisoners should be given provision for free telephone conversations and one telephone booth per 100 prisoners should be provided.
- All jails in Jharkhand should provide for meetings with relatives in parks within the jail complex, on the lines of Uttar Pradesh jails.
Medininagar Central Jail Superintendent said that the demands have been sent to the Jail IG from whom a response is yet to come. BN Singh is being given liquid foods now; if his condition deteriorates he will be given nasal feeding.
Meanwhile, many places in Jharkhand have seen protests in support of the Medininagar jail inmates and demands are being made from the Hemant Soren government to fulfill the demands. CPIML organized a protest in Palamou on 13 September in support of the hunger strike. Again on 16 September CPIML, CPI, CPM, JDU and BSP along with many people’s organizations organized protests. On 17 September CPIML protested at Albert Ekka Chowk in Ranchi in support of the prisoners.
On 18 September 2020 CPIML State Secretary Janardan Prasad and Bagodar MLA Vinod Singh met CM Hemant Soren and apprised him of the demands of the prisoners on hunger strike. State Secretary Janardan Prasad said that the Chief Minister expressed agreement on all the demands and assured them that all the demands would be fulfilled under a single process.