Having enquired about the well-being of his wife and other family members, 64-year-old Ram Kumar cut to the chase to issue a cryptic instruction — “Do move a bail plea at the trial court to release me from Tihar Jail since I do not want to come out for another month.”
While explaining why he did not want to be released from the jail on bail, Kumar wrote that “he was getting treated well at the jail’s indoor hospital and would soon get operated for appendicitis there”, according to a prison source. Lodged at the high security Tihar Jail, Kumar, whose family stays at a north Delhi slum, was facing charges for theft when his letter was intercepted and examined by the jail authorities recently.
“Once my operations is done successfully, I will instruct you and then bail me out,” wrote Kumar.
The source added, “For a jail inmate like him, a wish to stay even a day longer is quite unusual. But in Kumar’s case, it also indicated the way inmates could depend on the jail’s health facilities to attend to their problems.”
The jail complex, which houses around 11, 000 inmates in 10 sub-jails, has a network of treatment facilities manned by trained professionals. The jail has a dispensary at each of the 10 sub-jails, where inmates are treated for minor health-related problems.
The jail has two hospitals — with 150 and 120 beds respectively — located at sub-jail number 3. While the former hospital treats all kinds of ailments, the latter deals with drug-addicts. When contacted by the Hindustan Times, the jail spokesperson confirmed the contents of the letter and said, “Tihar’s health facilities are reckoned to be the best across jails in south Asia.”
The jail’s sanctioned strength for employing doctors is around 120, while it can hire around 200 paramedics too. “Currently, we have a shortage of around 30% staff in our medical facilities that we are trying to plug,” said the source.
JAIL’S POSTAL SURVEILLANCE
As per rules, the chiefs of all sub-jails' chiefs are directed to “censor or examine written mode of communication that go in or out of the sub-jails under their jurisdictions as a security measure,” said Gupta. The exception in this regard is the letter an inmate writes to his advocate that is not examined, he added. When asked about Kumar’s letter, Gupta said, “His letter was held back since his bail-related instruction was violation of the norms.”