THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The gruesome murder of an undertrial prisoner in the cell room of the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospital (MCH) has once again brought to light the naked violation of prison norms which bar entry of food from outside to the cell for the inmates undergoing treatment.
Sreedharan, who had been remanded under the Abkari Act, was allegedly beaten to death on December 19 by fellow prisoner Hakeem of Poonthura, who was apprehended under the Goonda Act.
According to police, the incident occurred after Sreedharan ate the ‘biriyani’ which was brought for Hakeem by his relatives. According to Medical College CI Pramod Kumar, the food was brought from outside and this was a blatant violation of the prison rules.
”Food should not be brought from outside by relatives. Three police constables from AR camp were posted in the cell room. We were told that the biriyani was brought by the relatives of the accused,” he said.
Poojappura jail superintendent B Pradeep too expressed concern over the issue of flouting of jail rules and said that prison rules did not allow outsiders to provide food for the inmates. ”We pay them ` 35 a day for an inmate. Then, how can we allow others to bring food?” he asked.
Years back, the Police Department and Prison officials had drawn flak from the media as they allowed a murder accused to spend time with his wife in the cell room while undergoing treatment at the Government Ayurveda College, Thiruvananthapuram.
”The allegation regarding flouting of prison rules is quite grave. But I haven’t received any complaints regarding this. Actually, the Police Department is responsible for the security and surveillance of the inmates who are in the cell room. We only provide them money for food and medicine,” said DIG of Prisons (Central Zone) H Gopakumar.
In reply to the query whether the paltry amount was sufficient to cater to the hunger of the inmates, the DIG said: ”Earlier, it was Rs 18. Later, the government revised it to Rs 35. At present, you can’t buy even a meal for that.”
Meanwhile, the relatives of a prisoner who recently got discharged from the cell room said that they were forced to provide food from outside as the amount allotted by the prison officials was not enough to buy even one meal.