Rajma is banned, channa allowed

Tihar Raj

Tihar Jail authorities seem allergic to rajma, banning relatives from bringing the popular dish for the inmates. But channa and bhindi are nor banned. Only a few months back, apples, bananas, green vegetables, toothpaste and paneer too were denied entry but now some such stuff can be brought by relatives.

Select inmates are allowed 20 rotis from relatives but others are restricted to six.

Tihar seems to run its own Raj. Moushumi Basu, Secretary, Peoples Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) claimed that that Tihar Jail authorities “arbitrarily” regulate or prevent food and other items from being brought in by relatives, forcing prisoners to buy them at “a higher cost” within the jail, so that the private shops on the premises report more sales.

Prisoners have to buy milk, toothpaste and other items from the jail canteen. There was a sit-in hunger strike by prisoners protesting arbitrary regulation of supply on essential items, she told Deccan Herald. Jail authorities have denied such regulations, saying measures like allowing apples or bananas inside have been taken for security reasons as  “banned items” are concealed in the fruit and smuggled in for criminals lodged inside.Basu also said that contrary to the principle of “equality,” the jail manual provides for a “better class” for “elite” prisoners like politicians, businessmen and bureaucrats.

 “When DMK MP Kanimozhi entered the jail she was given tea, and a western toilet was specially installed for her. Similarly Sudheendra Kulkarni and Kalmadi were also treated with tea,” Basu said, wondering how many poor inmates received such treatment.

She alleged that visitors are always shown “a nice jail” in Tihar and not all nine-sub-jails where conditions are vastly different. According to her, only men get computer training.

``Women are only allowed creche-training...again gender bias,” said the PUDR secretary.  
PUDR recently came out with a report “Beyond the Prison Gates: A Report on Living Conditions in Tihar Jail,” which also stressed that the jail rate for work done by prisoners was far below the   minimum wage prescribed by Delhi government.

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