Tihar inmates revel in RTI freedom
From a handful of queries received by jail authorities in 2005, RTI has come a long way within the boundaries of Tihar's 400-acre campus. Between March 2009 and February 2010, the inmates filed a record 402 applications. Abhishek Sharan reports.delhi Updated: Jul 12, 2010 01:18 IST
The applicant, Khalil Ahmed Subrati, wrote in Hindi on an A4-size sheet: 'How many of my cell mates have a violent bent of mind, and what specific safety measures has the administration taken to protect me from them?'
Subrati asked questions of the Tihar jail authorities in his newfound profile of a citizen exercising his rights under the Right To Information Act, 2005. Subrati also wanted to know why he was shifted to a high security ward, which is under 24-hour surveillance, from a general ward?
From a handful of queries received by jail authorities in 2005, RTI has come a long way within the boundaries of Tihar's 400-acre campus. Between March 2009 and February 2010, the inmates filed a record 402 applications.
An under-trial lodged in Tihar since 2004, Subrati is an accused in several cases of kidnapping, stabbing and assault.
A prison source, who isn't authorised to talk to the media, said the questionnaire of another RTI applicant Ravi Kapoor — lodged in sub-jail number 1 at the prison-complex — also expressed "grave worries".
'Why have the authorities banned prisoners from wearing denims,' asked Kapoor, an alleged car thief and suspect in the March 2009 murder of software executive Jigeesha Ghosh and the September 2008 murder of TV journalist Soumya Viswanathan.
"Due to increased awareness among inmates, and our timely response, the RTI applications filed by them has touched the highest mark this time," Tihar spokesperson Sunil Gupta told Hindustan Times.
But another jail source cautioned: "The queries are never objective or selfless."
A case in point was perhaps Praful Singh, who, in a bid to corner a strict jail superintendent, asked for a 'list of the properties' owned by the official and 'details of disciplinary actions against him'.