MUMBAI: When jail officials approached Indrani Mukerjea, the prime accused in the Sheena Bora murder case, to try and calm down the over 200 rioters at the Byculla Jail in Mumbai, little had they known that it would be counter-productive and that at the end Indrani herself and 200 other inmates would have to be booked for rioting, unlawful assembly and assault on a public servant.
The riots at the Byculla Jail followed the alleged death of a female convict at the hands of a woman prison official. A murder case (Sec. 302 IPC) was registered against six prison officials and an inquiry into the matter was ordered Sunday.
The incident started Friday afternoon when there was a scuffle between some of the prison inmates. Manju Govind Shetye (45), a convict in a murder case, was allegedly slapped by prison officers.
Shetye was jailed in connection with a 2004 murder case. She and her mother, who passed away recently, were arrested for murdering a relative. She was lodged in the Yerawada prison in Pune for over a decade and was shifted to Byculla only a couple of months ago.
According to prison officials, Shetye suffered a heart attack after the prison scuffle in the afternoon and she had to be rushed to hospital. Doctors at the state-run J J Hospital declared that Manju Shetye was brought dead to hospital at around 7.30 pm on Friday.
When the 200 women inmates of the jail heard the news of Shetye's death, they resorted to rioting from Saturday morning. Some of them climbed atop the roof of the jail while others burnt newspapers and wooden furniture inside, prison officials said.
The inmates alleged that Manju was beaten up by a woman prison official. They wanted to present the issue before the media but were not allowed to do so by the officials.
Senior jail officials told New Indian Express that the situation was now under control and an inquiry against the suspended officials was underway.
Indrani Mukherjee, her former husband Sanjeev Khanna and ex-driver Shyamvar Rai are accused of strangling 24-year-old Sheena-Indrani's daughter from a previous relationship - on April 24, 2012. Sheena's burnt body was dumped in a bag at a forest in Raigad district neighboring Mumbai.
Byculla Jail houses around 251 women prisoners.