A convict serving life sentence in the sensational Pradeep ‘Don’ murder case has written to the Gujarat prisons department, seeking permission to convert to Islam. The convict, Jignesh Soni, wrote the letter after he was shifted to a barrack that had Muslim inmates in the Sabarmati Central Jail — a move he alleged was a bid to “torture” him.
Jignesh, lodged in Bada Chakkar (section of the prison for convicts) of the Sabarmati Central Jail for six years, wrote to the superintendent of prisons, R S Bhagora, on May 27, saying he wanted to convert to Islam and he would make 10 other Hindu prisoners file similar applications to the prisons department.
Authorities at the Sabarmati Central Jail, however, termed Jignesh’s application for conversion as a “tantrum” to pressurise them.
While the chief of prisons, IGP T S Bisht, said Jignesh was shifted to another barrack as disciplinary action, the superintendent of jails claimed, “it was a routine shift”.
Bhagora said: “No punishment has been meted out to anyone in any barrack. Jignesh was shifted to Barrack No. 2, because there was a vacancy. He had formed a group of four to five convicts and wanted to stay only with them, which could have led to a trouble.”
In his letter, Jignesh stated that on May 22 he was shifted to the barrack, where Muslims were more in numbers. He claimed keeping him with “minorities” was an attempt to torture him.
The prison logbook on May 28, however, showed that there were 24 Hindus and only 14 Muslims in the barrack where Jignesh has been currently lodged. Referring to the log, Bhagora said, “He claims that he was shifted in a barrack where Muslims are more… (but) actually, Hindus are in majority.”
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