KOLKATA, 21 JUNE: About 100 prisoners in Midnapore central jail are suspected to have been infected with jaundice today.
Mr Amitava Bhattacharya, secretary of the committee for the release of political prisoners, said that he got to know that as many as 100 prisoners, several of them political prisoners, were suffering from jaundice. He said that in the past few months, Maoist inmates have staged several agitations inside jails complaining of poor food, lack of drinking water and corruption of jail staff.
In the recent hunger-strike by the inmates in the month of March, one of the main demands was supply of purified drinking water to prisoners. However, the demands went unheeded, said Mr Bhattacharya who added that doctors have not yet visited the prisoners.
The state jail minister, Mr Shankar Chakraborty, said that he has heard of the incident and asked the AIG, western range, for a detailed report. He would be able to comment only after he gets the report.
Sources in the police said that a large number of prisoners were indeed suffering from jaundice. However, the number was less than 100. He said that a medical officer was there in the jail.
Mrs Shukla Bhowmik, wife of Raja Sarkhel, had gone to meet him in the jail today and said that Raja and Prasun Chatterjee, were among the 100 suffering from jaundice. Raja Sarkhel and Prasun Chatterjee were booked under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). On being asked whether this was true, the Midnapore Jail superintendent, Mr Prahlad Kumar, said no and disconnected the call. His phone remained answered thereafter.