After a video of jailed Delhi minister Satyendar Jain getting a massage inside a prison cell surfaced on social media, and the Aam Aadmi Party defended it saying he was undergoing physiotherapy, Tihar Jail officials have clarified that it’s not allowed for a prisoner to indulge in “personal work”. Jail officials also said that the person seen giving the massage is not a physiotherapist but a rape accused inmate.
The man, police sources said, was arrested last year from Dwarka in a POCSO case.
Tihar jail officers said that undertrials and convicts can work at the jail but can only be involved in public work/service.
Tihar Jail officials said they have recorded 12 hospital visits in the last six months. “He could have gone for surgery but we don’t know about that. Delhi Armed Police takes care of security outside prison,” said an officer.
A Tihar Jail spokesperson also said as per the court’s order, a physiotherapist has been appointed who comes once a week for Satyendra Jain’s statement.
Meanwhile, taking cognizance of the viral video, Tihar officials said that a committee of secretaries will look into the video and take appropriate action.
“ Such cases happen with influential prisoners but it’s not allowed to push other prisoners into personal labour/work. The committee will decide if action will be taken or not,” added the officer.
“Earlier, only convicts could work at the jail. As per new rules, undertrials can also work but they need permission from the jail superintendent. The jail depends on the services the prisoners provide. Some volunteer for cooking, others for cleaning, gardening or PWD work. This can be allowed by the officials but giving someone a massage is personal labour, which is not allowed,” said an officer.
Another officer said: “It’s a common practice – politicians, businessmen, influential people asking inmates for personal work. However, this is strictly prohibited under the jail manual. Inmates need permission to leave their ward and go to another ward.”
The jail manual states that “no prisoner (is) to be employed for private work. “No prisoner shall at any time be employed by any officer of the prison or any other person for any private work or service of any kind whatsoever,” it states. If an inmate is facing health issues, he/she is sent to doctors at the Tihar Jail campus who help them. Inmates with severe/chronic issues are referred to other hospitals, the officer said.
After the video became public, the BJP had attacked it as an example of VIP culture. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, however, said Jain had been advised physiotherapy by doctors because of a spinal issue, and the BJP was politicising someone’s illness.