Hunger Strike by CPIML Leader BN Singh Incarcerated in Medini Nagar, Jharkhand

Comrade BN Singh was on fast unto death since 13 May inside Medininagar Central Jail in Jharkhand where he has been incarcerated for more than 16 years. He was attacked by some inmates led by a senior prison warder. Another CPIML activist Shrawan Vishwakarma, who also is facing incarceration in same jail, sat on fast with him. The hunger strike continued till 18 May when the jail administration begun feeling pressure of this protest and action was taken against the attackers. While comrade BN Singh was on fast inside the jail, his comrades in Palamou district along with all left parties came out to speak up on the issue and organized a one day protest at the district headquarters. This was attended by a range of left and democratic forces who demanded action against the erring jail authorities.

Comrade BN Singh was transferred to this jail from another jail in last March. Ever since he has been vocal against various irregularities and injustices inside the jail. This became provocation enough for the corrupt administration to indirectly organize an attack on him with the help of some criminal elements lodged in there.

BN Singh has said that he will continue to raise the issue of justice and inhuman conditions for the inmates and other jail reforms. He has informed the jail administration and state government about many problems which inmates genuinely deserve to be addressed. He has suggested for the installation of one phone for every 100 inmates and free phone calls. He also raised the important question of Parole which should not be left in the hands of few bureaucrats to take arbitrary decisions.

Three CPIML leaders have been incarcerated in this jail. Pradip Vishwakarma and Shrawan Vishwakarma were the district committee members of Palamou. They also tried to get parole to attend the marriage of their children which was denied quite unjustifiably. Many inmates are facing such problems and disquiet is brewing among them against the administration.

These three CPIML leaders have been in jail for more than 16 years and by going with the usual jail norms they would have been release by now, but they are denied even very short paroles to attend to children’s marriage. The district administration in this matter is actually violating Supreme Court of India’s recommendations.

BN Singh has also raised the issue of the release of prisoners who have completed their full jail term and not been released only due to jail administration’s callousness. Many senior citizens have been forced to live in inhuman jail conditions in their old age. There is another order by SC that lifers who have completed fourteen years should be set free on the basis of their good conduct. State government is responsible to take decision in such cases, but last many governments in Jharkhand have not shown any willingness to address such cases which will also decrease the overcrowding inside jails.

It is the power of jail authorities to give a report of good conduct. But where jail administration has to face protests against their irregulaities and corruptions, it is difficult for honest inmates to get a ‘good conduct’ report! This is a major reason that after been incarcerated on false charges these CPIML leaders have not been released even after years. But BN Singh and his comrades are determined to continue their fight for justice wherever they are, inside or outside jail, irrespective of whatever will be the repercussions!

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