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Jail officials blame ‘troublemakers’ as 2 videos emerge flagging hygiene and crowding issues

Delhi Prisons Director General Sandeep Goel said, “They are making false allegations. Food is hygienic and doctors are available round the clock. Inmates are regularly screened for symptoms. Isolation wards have been made.”

Written by Mahender Singh Manral | New Delhi | Published: March 31, 2020 1:04:31 am
delhi jails, Delhi jails coronavirus, India lockdown, coronavirus India lockdown news A grab from one video.

Social media posts emerged Monday showing a group of undertrials housed in Mandoli and Rohini jails asking for better facilities against the backdrop of the coronavirus outbreak. One clip features a murder accused and has the prisoners voicing their support for the nation-wide lockdown and also pleading that they be granted parole.

The first video was recorded in Mandoli Jail by an undertrial prisoner identified as Rajkumar, arrested in 2018 in a murder case.

A video tagged as ‘Mandoli jail number 15 (high-risk)’ shows a group of undertrials led by Rajkumar, with folded hands, starting the message with an appeal: “This is our request to people who are still moving out to keep indoors, as coronavirus is a horrific disease. Modi ji has taken a good measure, people must support it… however, we want to share with you that we are not being given any masks or sanitisers, our condition has become worse over the days… If someone gets a cold or fever and tries to report it to the authorities, they tell us to keep quiet. If any of us catches this disease, the situation will get uncontrollable. We want to request the Delhi government to release us on parole…,” the undertrial claims in the message, which was released on a social media app.

Delhi Prisons Director General Sandeep Goel said, “They are making false allegations. Food is hygienic and doctors are available round the clock. Inmates are regularly screened for symptoms. Isolation wards have been made.”

Goel said they conducted a raid but are yet to find the phone.

Another video from Rohini Jail shows inmates gather for what appears to be a protest. A voice in the background says they are on a hunger strike demanding protection against coronavirus.

“There is no space to sleep, the washrooms are dirty, food is not served regularly and authorities haven’t made proper arrangements,” the person alleges.

Goel said some “troublemakers” had shot this particular video. “We conducted a raid and a phone has been recovered. The condition of toilets is not as bad as is projected in the video. Although there are stains etc, since they are old, it seems that bottles and plastic has been stuffed inside to show they are choked,” he said.

“Utmost care is being taken for hygiene in the barracks, kitchen and toilets,” he said.

Here’s a quick Coronavirus guide from Express Explained to keep you updated: What can cause a COVID-19 patient to relapse after recovery? | COVID-19 lockdown has cleaned up the air, but this may not be good news. Here’s why | Can alternative medicine work against the coronavirus? | A five-minute test for COVID-19 has been readied, India may get it too | How India is building up defence during lockdown | Why only a fraction of those with coronavirus suffer acutely | How do healthcare workers protect themselves from getting infected? | What does it take to set up isolation wards?

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