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The Rediff Special/Mariam Rasheeda

'If I step out I may be killed'

Mariam Rasheeda The spy charge was declared false, but I am still in jail. I cannot raise the money for bail. Jail life is harsh, but if I step out I may be killed.

The Thiruvananthapuram police made my life hell. They beat me, cheated me and denied me food and water. The conditions got better when I was shifted to the Thrissur jail. The police and the jailers treat me well.

I am suffering all this because of one man. I landed in jail only because I did not agree to have sex with Inspector Vijayan. I had gone to see him to extend my visa. I had confirmed air tickets to leave India, but the flights were cancelled. Vijayan took my passport and the tickets. Some days later he came to my hotel room and asked my friend Fouzia to wait outside.

Vijayan asked me to open my suitcase. He wanted to know if I had any dollars. I said no. Then he came and stood close to me and put his arm around my shoulder. I pushed him away and said: "Bastard, get out." I was furious. In Male, unmarried girls do not have sex. We are hundred per cent Muslim women.

I went every day to the commissioner's office to get my papers back. But I couldn't meet Vijayan. On the morning of October 20, I get him on the phone. He said my papers were ready and that I should report to him at 4 pm. When I arrived, I saw him standing outside along with another man. The man walked towards me, pulled out a camera and took my photo.

Vijayan then called me into his office, told me to remove my ornaments and said I was under arrest, I asked him the reason but he refused to tell me. I spent the night at the Vanitha police station. I was taken the next day to the commissioner's office. The entire Thiruvananthapuram press was waiting for me. On seeing them I broke down.

I was badly beaten in police custody. I was kept inside a room and questioned round the clock by 15 officials. I was not allowed to sit. No policewomen were present. I am embarrassed to mention the things that were done to me. I ran around the room in panic. The policemen caught me and tied my hands to the window grill. Vijayan lifted a chair and hit me on the legs. Then he started slapping my face. I will never forget the ordeal of the last two years.

Mariam Rasheeda, currently in Viyyur Central Prison, Thrissur, broke her long silence in this exclusive account to Venu Menon

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