About 30 political prisoners lodged in the Presidency Jail here are on hunger strike for the last six days in protest against rights violation by jail authorities, rights activists alleged on Tuesday.
They said that for about two weeks the inmates were being confined to their cells for most of the day and not allowed to meet their relatives.
Presidency Jail authorities denied the allegation.
“The political prisoners are not even being provided paper to write letters and not being allowed to make phone calls,” Sujato Bhadra, vice president of the Bandi Mukti Committee (BMC) told journalists.
Mr. Bhadra, was part of a five-member delegation that met jail superintendent Debashish Chakravarty demanding they be allowed to meet the prisoners.
They claimed that some of political prisoners were charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Mr. Bhadra said.
The BMC also alleged that the jail welfare officer had “threatened” one of the political prisoners Arnab Dam, who is also on hunger strike.
No medical check-up
“Since the hunger strike started no doctor has visited them, no medical check-ups have been conducted so far,” Chotan Das, the general secretary of BMC said. He also said that some of the accused in the Khagragarh blast case in Bardhaman , lodged in the jail, are also on hunger strike.
Some of them who are on hunger strike were allegedly involved with Maoists and were part of their top leadership.
Denying the allegations, Mr. Chakravarty said: “The [political] prisoners, raising such allegations, were enjoying more facilities than they deserve and due to security issues the facilities were brought back to normal level.” He, however, refused to disclose the security issues. Mr. Chakravarty also said that many among the fasting prisoners were above 55 years of age.
Coordination of Democratic Rights (CDRO), a platform of rights organisation, alleged that “in the present instance, the authorities are well aware that ailing and elderly inmates like Gour Chakravarty, Sadanala Ramakrishna and Asim Bhattacharya are on hunger strike and that their health was precarious.”
“We have written to IG (Correctional Services) and he has said that he will look into the matter. If adequate steps are not taken then we may take legal recourse,” Sudipta Sen, assistant sectary of Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR) told The Hindu . APDR is a constituent of CDRO.
Activists say they are confined to their cells and not allowed to meet their kin