Tihar officials recently received an unconventional piece of literature from an inmate — a voluminous doctoral thesis on human rights and jail reforms. The study on the administration’s good work and what needs to be improved in Asia’s largest prison has attracted special attention, sources say, since the author is none other than Connaught Place shooting convict ACP Satyavir Singh Rathi.
It is a unique study, considering it comes from a man who has seen the prison from both sides, as a police officer and as a prisoner. A city court recently sentenced Rathi, along with nine other policemen, to life imprisonment for murdering two innocent businessmen in an encounter in 1997 after mistaking them for gangsters.
“Rathi recently submitted the thesis to the prison headquarters,” confirmed B.K. Gupta, Director-General (Prisons). The thesis, titled History of Human Rights in Tihar, is in two volumes, each part running to almost 400 pages.
It analyses the lives of prisoners, how jail reforms can help rebuild them and the details the various landmark incidents and committees set up for Tihar.
Rathi earlier spent a few years in Tihar in connection with the decade-old shootout case during trial; he got bail later. The study compiles his experiences of the stay and is laced with first-person accounts of fellow prisoners. It also combines his research on prison reforms in general.
“In one portion, Rathi has observed that the prison’s rehabilitation system for convicts needs some improvement so that prisoners can live a respectable life once they serve their term. He has also talked about the need to organise more meditation courses for both prisoners and jail wardens,” says a Tihar source.
Rathi’s thesis is sprinkled with anecdotes on his interaction with prisoners. In this regard, he has pointed out the nuisance created by a group of prisoners who attack fellow inmates with sharp objects to threaten and extort them. He has pointed out that these prisoners should be kept in separate wards.
Rathi’s overall observations about the living conditions in the jail favour the prison administration though, says the source. “The scores of meditation camps and educational and vocational courses introduced in the jail have helped prisoners utilise their time fruitfully, Rathi has observed,” the source said.