'Tipsy' docs at UP jails

'Tipsy' docs at UP jails

Suicide, hunger strike in overcrowded prisons

A suicide and a hunger strike recently at Lucknow Jail reflect unrest among inmates in overcrowded Uttar Pradesh prisons, particularly over  `negligent' doctors and poor medical facilities.

An inmate, Ramdas, who had been suffering from a fungal infection, committed suicide at the Lucknow district jail on Sunday, allegedly after being refused medicine by a `tipsy' prison doctor.

About 500 inmates of the Lucknow jail went on a day-long hunger strike on Monday to protest against lack of medical facilities and poor quality of food.

While the jail administration called the Ramdas case a suicide, family members alleged he was killed.

Recently, a seriously ill prisoner died in Mau district jail as he could not be shifted to the prison hospital due to the absence of  guards.

UP minister of state for jails Rampal Rajvanshi visited the Lucknow district jail on Monday – and faced inmates who alleged that prison  doctors are drunk almost all the time, even while seeing patients.

The minister assured them that their complaint will be thoroughly investigated and the guilty doctors punished.

All 62 jails in the state are overcrowded. There are around 84,000 prisoners in these jails as against their capacity of 46,000, said a jail official.

About 2,000 posts of jail guards have been lying vacant for several years.

Over 500 inmates have either committed suicide or died under mysterious circumstances in the state jails in the past few years.

As many as 23 prisoners died in the past 19 months in the Lucknow district jail alone.
The jails have also witnessed scale violence in the past few months. In one such violent clash prisoners had attacked a jailer in Mau, and one inmate was killed.

The newly-appointed jail minister Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiya, who himself has been in the jail for several months, has vowed to improve the condition of jails in the state.

Recently he ordered installation of water coolers to give respite to the inmates in the hot summer season.

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