NAGPUR: Though their numbers are not clear, it is learnt that some jail inmates went on a one-day hunger strike on Sunday which was also observed as the ‘day of the political prisoners’. The hunger-strike was primarily observed demanding status of the political prisoners by the inmates who have been jailed for their affiliation to different socio-political revolutionary movements like Maoism.
Jail authorities, confirming the participation of Ashok Satya Reddy, alias Murli, and Arun Thomas Ferreira in the hunger-strike, could not indicate how many inmates supported them and refused food. Both Murli and Ferreira were arrested by city police in 2007 for their alleged involvement in the Maoist movement. “So far, only two persons (Murli and Ferreira) have confirmed their participation in the hunger-strike,” said a senior jailor adding that the jail administration may contemplate taking legal action and register offence if hunger-strike continued.
A statement from Murli and Ferreira claimed that inmates affiliated to various ‘political groupings’ like Naxals, Simi etc, were taking part in hunger strike on Sunday at different jails across India demanding the status of ‘political prisoners’ and protesting conditions inside prisons. Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners, which works for release of the prisoners arrested for their various political agendas, too claimed that they had called for the one-day strike in memory of freedom fighter Jatin Das, whose marathon hunger strike ended in his death during British era.
While the inmates decided to go on one day token strike, Murli has threatened to fast unto death. The protesting inmates also pointed out that prison authorities showed no concern regarding precautions needed to be taken against spread of swine flu in jail.
TNN 14 September 2009,