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300 inmates of Jehanabad jail on hunger strike

Posted by Indian Vanguard on December 19, 2007

Patna, Dec 19 – After Maoists lodged in the Beur jail here, it is the turn of prisoners in the Jehanabad jail to raise a banner of revolt. Over 300 inmates, including 67 Maoists, went on a hunger strike Wednesday.

They are demanding action against jail officials responsible for last week’s suicide by a Maoist inmate in Beur jail.Nagina Manjhi, 40, a member of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist), committed suicide Dec 14. He was found hanging from the iron gate of the jail infirmary where he was being treated for a minor ailment.The prisoners in Jehananbad, about 50 km from here, also protested the use of force by the police against agitating Maoist inmates in Beur Tuesday.Official sources said 67 of the 328 inmates on hunger strike are Maoists and 135 belong to the Communist Party of India-Marxist Leninist (CPI-ML).The inmates have also demanded Rs.500,000 as compensation for Manjhi’s kin.

All efforts by jail authorities to end the hunger strike have failed.’We have been trying hard to convince the protesting inmates to end the hunger strike,’ a jail official said.The inmates are also protesting against lack of facilities and inhuman living conditions.Like other prisons in the state, Jehanabad jail is overcrowded. It now has over 700 prisoners. The jail, built during the British rule, has a capacity for 120 inmates.Soon after the jailbreak in Jehanabad district by Maoists in November 2005, the Nitish Kumar government declared that jails in the state vulnerable to Maoist attack would be revamped.Overcrowding is common in jails across the state.

As many as 48,000 prisoners are lodged in different jails against the total capacity of 21,745, officials said.The police used force to break the daylong siege of Patna’s high-security Beur jail by Maoist inmates Tuesday evening and launched a massive search operation in the cells to seize hidden arms, ammunition and cell phones.

Earth Times

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