6 SIMI members on hunger strike in Bhopal jail moved to hospital
Six members of the banned Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) who began a hunger strike in the Bhopal central jail a week ago were shifted to the jail hospital late Saturday night, the prison’s superintendent said Sunday.
Saduli PA and Shibily from Kerala, Qammruddin Nagori, Mohammad Ansar, Hafij Hussain and Safdar from Madhya Pradesh, were found guilty of sedition, collecting arms and waging war against the government of India, bomb blast and being a member of terrorist gang and organisation three years back. Different courts including NIA special court and CBI special court sentenced them life imprisonment in 2017 and 2018.
Bhopal central jail superintendent Dinesh Nargave said, “They are demanding better food, opposing regular frisking and freedom from high-security block. In all 28 SIMI members are lodged in the Bhopal central Jail. Out of them, 18 had been shifted to solitary confinement to avoid a recurrence of the jailbreak incident that happened in October 2016.”
On the intervening night of October 30-31 in 2016, eight SIMI operatives escaped the jail by killing a guard and later on October 31, they were killed in an encounter in a village near Bhopal, said Nargave.
“They are not allowed to come out of the special cell as they shout anti-national slogans and also disrespect the Constitution of India that led to tension among jail inmates. We had been convincing them to end the fast for the past one week but they didn’t listen to us. Hence, they were shifted to the jail hospital where doctors are treating them,” said Nargave.
The six prisoners were lodged in Ahmedabad jail but in 2017, they were shifted to Bhopal central jail.
“Since then, they are being harassed by jail authorities. Not only them, but all SIMI members are facing inhuman treatment after the October 2016 jailbreak,” said a family member.
“The SIMI members have been harassed by jail authorities for the past three years. Recently Qammaruddin moved an application in Ahmedabad court, where he and other five are facing a trial for Sabarmati jailbreak, against physical and mental torture on him,” said Madhuri, a human rights activist.
“Even, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in its report submitted in March 2018 clearly said that SIMI operatives were being tortured physically and mentally in the Bhopal central jail. But the state government and jail authorities did not improve the condition. The jail authorities have only custodial rights and they don’t have any right to torture them,” she added.