Saffron organisations have browbeaten the MP government into reviewing its powers to cut short the jail sentence of alleged terrorists convicted under the Unlawful Activities Act. The state had exercised such powers by releasing five activists of the outlawed Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) on the occasion of Republic Day.
They were in jail in Ujjain district from September 2008 on charges of holding a terror camp. On January 12, 2011, a local court in Ujjain sentenced them to five years' imprisonment.
Going by the state government's decision, the prison term had been reduced by half.
After protests in various parts of Madhya Pradesh, the state government formed a panel to re-examine its decision and the relevant legal provisions under which the release order had been passed.
Principal secretary (jail) Sudesh Kumar said that the powers would be reviewed before releasing any prisoner next time. However, sources at the state's law department were of the view that the current order would not be revoked.
Director general (jail) VK Parwar said, "We have formed a committee to discuss whether or not the prisoners sentenced under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, should be disallowed the customary remission on the eve of Republic Day or Independence Day."
Protesting the release, the Bajrang Dal staged demonstrations in Ujjain and burnt an effigy of jail minister Jagdish Deora. Bajrang Dal city convener Virendra Kale said that it was a blunder on the part of the jail authorities to release the SIMI activists barely two weeks after they had been convicted.
The state government released 608 prisoners on January 25 from different jails in the state.