The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Jailer loses bedroom battle to Ansari

The jailer has been robbed of the security of his bedroom by one of his own inmates.

For “security reasons”, the trial venue of Aftab Ansari, the main accused in the American Center attack case, was shifted from the city sessions court to Presidency jail, following a nod from Calcutta High Court. But it cost one of the jailors dear. Nazrul Islam has had to forego his own bedroom which has been taken over and converted into a makeshift courtroom.

The 11th judge of the city civil and sessions court, P.L. Dutta, visited the jail a fortnight ago and declared that a first floor room on the campus would be the ideal venue for Ansari’s trial. Since then, Islam, who owns the room, has been passing sleepless nights.

“We are approaching the Public Works Department (PWD) to renovate the room and instal tables, chairs and other accessories necessary to create the ambience of a court,” inspector-general of prisons Joydeb Chakraborty said on Tuesday. A letter from Justice Dutta had reached the jail authorities during the day on the matter.

“We have begun work on a war footing since the trial will begin on March 24,” he said, adding that jail officials had already taken up the matter with their counterparts in the PWD.

Jail superintendent S.K. Hussain said he would send a report to the court within a fortnight, detailing the progress of work.

But Islam, who has already been asked to give up the room, appeared “crestfallen”.

“I have to abide by what my seniors say, but I don’t know where I shall sleep henceforth,” he said, adding that this would put him in great inconvenience. “It may be that the jail authorities feel that I don’t require two bedrooms since I stay alone, but this will infringe on my privacy,” he said.

Officials close to Islam said he was left with no option but to keep silent in the wake of the detection of a mobile phone in Ansari’s cell on the night of February 24. “Islam cannot make much fuss over the matter. As jailer, he was in charge of security arrangements inside the jail,” they pointed out.

Islam was learnt to have vehemently opposed the decision earlier when he was asked to vacate one of his bedrooms for Ansari’s trail.

“I have been living with my wife and children. What about the privacy of my family if the authorities take over one of the rooms'” he is learnt to have told the superintendent when he was approached by the authorities.

But he has kept silent ever since another jailer, Srikanta Mondal, was served a suspension notice on charges of dereliction of duty.

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