A probe by India’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has revealed that 21 activists of the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) were subjected to physical and mental torture in the Bhopal Central Jail by the jail staff.
The inmates were forced to shout slogans such as ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and greet jail warders with ‘Ram, Ram,’ said the findings of the NHRC’s first team, reports said.
“The prisoners and their family members have alleged that all the prisoners are forced by the jail authorities to shout slogans like ‘Jai Shri Ram’ or say ‘Ram, Ram’ to jail warders, etc. Some of the prisoners have also alleged that the jail staff asks them to shout one slogan for one extra roti/chapati,” reports said.
The commission also said that the jail staff harbours antagonism towards the 21 inmates. “Keeping long beards by these prisoners was seen as a defiant expression of religion and therefore subjected to force by the jail staff. From the overall facts and circumstances, the jail staff seems to harbour a sense of religious antagonism against the 21 prisoners, which is reflected by the inhuman treatment towards them.”
When contacted, DG (Jail) Sanjay Choudhary said “the first NHRC inquiry team report is an exaggerated one-sided report. The NHRC has sent the first report to us. Our written opinion has been included in the comments sent by the government in its reply in February. The matter is pending before the NHRC.”