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State justifies assault on Arthur Road Jail inmates

The state government on Tuesday justified its action pertaining to the assault on inmates of Arthur Road Jail last year.

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai | Published: February 18, 2009 4:08 am

The state government on Tuesday justified its action pertaining to the assault on inmates of Arthur Road Jail last year. An affidavit filed by Principal Secretary (Home) Anna Dani states that it was necessary to use force on the inmates by the authorities on June 28,2008. The affidavit also states that it is not correct to say that jail authorities exceeded their authority while transferring the prisoners to other jail in the state.

It further states that it was up to the jail authorities to decide when and how to act at the spot. According to Dani,the situation would have deteriorated,if the authorities had waited to take action. Dani also states that some of the prisoners were guilty of obstructing the duty of jail authorities.

Public Prosecutor Satish Borulkar told the court on Tuesday that force used was required and appropriate. Meanwhile,an inmate Gautam Desai who claims to be an independent witness will be filing an affidavit in this regard before the court on February 24.

Last year the court had ordered a judicial probe into the alleged assault on jail inmates at the Arthur Road Jail on June 28. A division bench led by Justice Bilal Nazki had directed the principal judge of the City Civil and Sessions Court to submit an inquiry report.

The judicial probe,however,revealed that jail authorities had used excess force on the inmates. Saeed Sohail Sheikh,son of Sohail Mehmoob Sheikh,an accused in the 7/11 serial blasts case,had moved the High Court alleging assault on prison inmates at the Arthur Road Jail. However,an affidavit submitted by Prison Superintendent Swati Sathe had stated that the jail inmates and undertrials — Dr Tanveer Ansari and Kamal Ansari accused in 7/11 blasts— had started shouting slogans like ‘Pakistan Zindabad Hindustan Murdabad’ when the jail authorities had gathered them before transferring to another prison in the state. The duo were soon joined by 21 other undertrials and they also started shouting slogans. According to the reply,the special MCOCA court had granted her permission to transfer some of the inmates to other prisons due to overcrowding at the Arthur Road Jail.

The petition,however,alleged that Sathe and the other jail staffers gathered all the accused in a hall inside the prison under the pretext of transferring them to different prisons and started assaulting them. Sathe in her reply has claimed that after using reasonable and required force,the situation was brought under control.

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