Friday, August 31, 2012

Godhra convicts go on hunger strike in jail

A day after one of their co-inmates died, three convicts of the 2002 Godhra train attack case reportedly went on an indefinite hunger strike inside Vadodara Central Jail here on Monday demanding better medical facilities and relaxation in parole norms even as a post mortem report confirmed that the prisoner had died of a heart attack.
Salim Jarda, Irfan Pada and Siraj Bala went on an indefinite hunger strike after the death of 33-year-old Shaukat alias Bhano Faruk Abdul Sattar Patalia on Sunday, sources in the jail said. The remaining 27 convicts of the case were to join the strike since Monday evening, they further said.
“They are demanding better medical facilities on the jail premises, removal of CrPC Section 268 and relaxation in parole norms. They have a list of six demands,” sources said. Section 268 prohibits parole or furlough to a convict and it has been invoked by state home ministry against Godhra convicts.
However, jail superintendent R F Sangada denied there was any hunger strike and claimed there were adequate medical facilities available inside the jail premises.
“No such strike has been reported to me. So far as medical facilities on the jail premises is concerned, we have a panel of five doctors and they are available round-the-clock,” Sangada told The Indian Express.
Meanwhile, an autopsy by doctors of SSG Hospital confirmed Pataliya had died of cardiac arrest.
“The post mortem report provided to us states it was a clear case of heart attack. The autopsy was conducted by a panel of two doctors and the process was videographed,” assistant commissioner of police (ACP) M M Malek, said. Malek is conducting a probe into the incident.
He said Patalia’s body was handed over to his relatives from Godhra late on Monday evening.
Convicts’ relatives allege bias by jail staff
After Patalia’s death, a number of relatives of the convicts thronged Vadodara Central Jail on Monday but were turned away by jail authorities.
“They won’t allow us to meet our relatives by demanding sets of documents even from children. They are being too harsh on Godhra convicts while relatives of other convicts in riot cases get to meet them rather easily,” Ashraf Sheikh, one of the relatives, alleged.
Sheikh was among a group of people who had come from Godhra to see their relatives.