Jail cleansing mission half accomplished

The jail authorities last Sunday cleared the jails in the country’s most politicised state off the portraits of political leaders without much resistance from their adorers inside the jails as part of an operation to free the jails from politics, but freeing them from politics is not going to be that easy.

By T K Devasia (Kerala Buzz)

Published: Sat 23 Jun 2012, 12:54 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 11:45 AM

Those who have gone to the jail fighting and killing for parties have been treating jails as the appendage of their respective parties and virtually controlling some of the prisons flouting all norms. The central jail at Kannur, where political murders are the order of the day, is the preserve of the Communist Party of India — Marxist (CPM), which is involved in most incidents of political violence in the northern district.

There are over 320 CPM men in the jail. Most of them are accommodated in the 8th block. Jail officials and other prisoners dread to enter the block, which is known as a ‘mini’ CPM village. Unlike in other blocks, comrades in 8th block get their regular supply of everything from mobile phones to booze, cigarettes and favorite food brought through their supporters outside.

The convicts in the block often attack non-CPM convicts and the jail officials, who question their illegal activities. Once, they even assaulted and locked up a warden inside one of the cells. Senior leaders regularly visit the jail and conduct classes for their men.

Other prisoners had lodged several complaints against the unlawful activities going on in the block, but the authorities turned to blind eye to most of them. Distressed by this, a non-political moved the chief justice, who treated his letter as public interest litigation and deputed a district judge to probe the complaint.

The judge found that the CPM prisoners were running the jail for themselves.

The judge had recommended several measures, including construction of walls and barricades to physically segregate prisoners to prevent violence, but the government confined them to the file after posting some policemen to keep a watch on the convicts.

The decision to remove the portraits of political leaders followed the visit of the jail by Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan last month.

Senior jail officials consider this as ideal time to sanitise the jails to make it free from politics, but will the government show the political will to do this is the million dollar question. — news@khaleejtimes.com

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