The suspected naxalite prisoners currently lodged in Mumbai, Nagpur and Chandrapur jails will go on a day-long token strike on September 13 in protest against the alleged high handedness of the police and jail authorities.
In a letter addressed to Maharashtra Governor S C Jamir, Mumbai-based Maoist, Arun Ferreira, who is now in Nagpur central prison, has demanded that the suspected naxalite prisoners should be given the status of political prisoners. Besides, the state should revise the Maharashtra Prison Manual and implement the recommendations of National Human Rights Commission on prison reforms.
“The hunger strike is also in solidarity with the call of the Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners for all Indian prisoners to commemorate the day for prison reforms and recognition of political prisoners,” the letter said. Mumbai-based alleged Maoists, Shridhar Srinivasan and Vernon Gonsalves, will also join them in the proposed one-day strike. They were arrested by the Anti-Terrorism Squad in Mumbai a couple of years ago and are now in Mumbai jail.
As many as 22 suspected naxalite undertrials are in Nagpur central jail, including Ferreira and senior Maoist leader, K Ashok Reddy alias Murali Reddy while an equal number of suspected left-wing undertrials are in Chandrapur jail and two in Mumbai jail.
The suspected naxalite undertrials also insisted to stop arbitrary police action against innocents on the name of naxalites in tribal region of the state.
Surendra Gadling, the counselor for Reddy and Ferreira, alleged that suspected naxalite undertrials were kept along with convicted prisoners in Nagpur jail in violation of jail code. Moreover, a green band was put on the shirt of these undertrials, so as to distinguish them as being naxalites. “Being undertrials, the jail authorities have no right to do such things with them,” he pointed out and alleged that these prisoners were deprived of health check up facility.
Earlier, these suspected naxalites were went to an indefinite hunger strike in December last year against solitary confinement of undertrials, seeking extension in the meeting time for lawyers and relatives by 30 minutes, scrapping of MCOCA and abolition of section 110 of the criminal procedure code. The issue even figured in the state legislature. However, not a single demand of these undertrials was conceded by the state government.
Both, Ferreira and Murali were arrested by the Nagpur police in May, 2007 and recovered revolver and pro-Leftist literature from them. It was alleged that all the suspected naxalite detainees were implicated false cases by the police.