This is quite a hairraising prospect. Kausar Ali, alias Dukhua, an inmate of Presidency Jail, had to obtain an order from Bidhannagar court to shave his beard and trim his hair. Kausar (46), who was denied grooming facilities by the jail authorities for over two months, had filed a petition in the local court.
Kausar, a resident of Dakshindari in North 24-Parganas, is serving a life sentence in a murder case.
Though the jailbird got the court order on September 16, the prison authorities took another two weeks to honour the directive and get a barber to shave and trim Kausar’s unkempt hair.
And Kausar wasn’t alone to be denied what is every prisoner’s right: a haircut every month and a shave once a week. “I have information that a good number of inmates were moving around with unkempt hair and beard. When, despite Kausaur’s repeated appeals the jail authorities did not give him access to a barber, he appealed to the court. On September 16, the court granted his appeal,” said Rajdeep Banerjee, Kausar’s lawyer, adding, “This is the first time that I argued such an absurd case. The public prosecutor did not oppose Kausar’s plea.”
Though Presidency jail authorities won’t comment on the reason why prisoners were denied services of a barber, a former superintendent of Alipore Central Jail told HT that the prison administration often use such tactics to ‘punish’ inmates who don’t pay up (extortion is a regular feature behind bars). “Kausar must have been a rebel, he said.
“Sometimes, prisoners themselves object to shaving... this prisoner also objected. When he agreed, he got the shave and haircut,” said Debashis Chakraborty, Presidency jail super.
Kausar’s lawyer said that his client was a clean shaven Muslim with closely cropped hair. He was in distress when his hair and beard grew.