25 July, 2021

Prisoners Of The System

A PIL in the Patna High Court highlights the pathetic condition of inmates languishing in the state's jails

Prisoners Of The System

HIS death was a certainty. On April4, 1994, Mohammed Tahir, a prisoner on trial in Bihar's Kishanganj subdivisional jail, was set free. In custody, he had faced near-starvation and reeled under an attack of jaundice, both of which he (and the jail) had been ill-equipped to handle. When Tahir's condition worsened, the authorities were left with two options: to continue keeping him in custody and face the flak in the event of his death, or let him go. They opted for the latter. Tahir stepped out a free man, and collapsed a couple of hours later, just yards away from the high walls that had been his home for years: dead.

Two years since, members of Tahir's family are still begging for a few crumbs from the state. But in the interim, l' affaire Tahir has grown larger than one of mere compensation. The Patna High Court has asked the Bihar Government and its prison administration for a detailed report on all the 76 jails in the state—on the availability of food and medical facilities, the living conditions of inmates, and the possible...

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