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Siwan Jail inmates fast for Shahabuddin
Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna | May 16, 2006 14:32 IST
Over one hundred prisoners in Siwan jail launched indefinite hunger strike to protest the ill treatment of controversial Rashtriya Janata Dal parliamentarian Mohammad Shahabuddin by jail officials.
Angry prisoners, mostly Shahabuddin supporters led by a former RJD legislator Jitendra Swami, who is also lodged in jail, went on hunger strike on Tuesday demanding action against jail officials for misbehaviour with Shahabuddin.
According to Jail sources, prisoners have threatened not to end their strike unless action was taken against the prison officials "Shahabuddin's supporters inside the jail were angry over misbehaviour, manhandling and lack of facilities to him," the sources said.
Shahabuddin, who faces over three-dozen criminal charges, was shifted to Siwan jail last week from high security Bhagalpur prison. He was shifted in the wake of a Patna High Court directive to speed up the trial of the cases against him.
Controversy had erupted when he was allowed to travel in a luxury car instead of a police vehicle while being transferred to Siwan jail. Opposition Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) accused that it was a clear case of violation of rules with the full knowledge of the top brass of the state administration.
Home secretary Afzal Amanullah on Monday said the Medical Board, which had examined Shahabuddin had suggested that he could be treated inside the jail itself. Shahabuddin was brought to Patna in an ambulance from Siwan Jail recently for an MRI test after he complaint of acute pain in his spinal cord after his scuffle with jail officials soon after being shifted from Bhagalpur prison.
Besides Shahabuddin's parent party – the RJD – the Congress too has come out in his support. Party spokesperson Kripanath Pathak said it appeared that Shahabuddin was seriously ill and the state government should make immediate arrangements for his treatment. Pathak said Shahabuddin is a parliamentarian and should be given the facilities he is entitled to as a class I prisoner.
Congress leader Pathak stressed that the state government should ensure the safety and medical care of the parliamentarian. The RJD has already lodged its protest against reports of Shahabuddin being manhandled inside Siwan jail.
A delegation of RJD leaders, led by former minister Awadh Bihari Choudhary, had called on Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar in this connection.