| Mukhtar Ansari
Lucknow, April 28: In the eyes of law, Independent MLA Mukhtar Ansari is a convict sentenced to 10 years behind bars on terrorism charges. But in Lucknow jail, he is a “lord”.
Since Ansari extended support to chief minister Mayavati, the roles have been reversed inside the jail: the convict has been sitting in judgement and the jailor taking the stick.
On Sunday, Ansari ‘summoned’ jailor S.R. Awasthi to his barracks to ‘punish’ him for disobedience. The jailor was threatened, roughed up and abused for allegedly misbehaving with Ansari’s guests.
Awasthi’s crime was he didn’t allow 12 of Ansari’s armed aides to visit him at the same time. They were later allowed in in twos, but the MLA was outraged at the ‘affront’.
“Tumhari zindagi haraam kar doonga,” Ansari screamed as one of his aides brandished a revolver at Awasthi in the presence of security guards.
The MLA from Mau was in the news last week when he left Lucknow jail for a medical check-up but used the day out to visit an inspector general of police and the police headquarters, do some shopping in Hazratganj and finally hold court in his MLA’s flat.
Sunday morning’s incident began with 12 of Ansari’s aides barging into the jailor’s office and insisting on meeting their boss immediately. The jailor quoted the rulebook to tell them they couldn’t be allowed entry, but later allowed them in.
Once inside, Ansari’s aides complained to their boss that Awasthi had insulted them. A furious Ansari immediately summoned him and began abusing him. He also charged Awasthi with being hand in glove with jailed don Babloo Shrivastava and showering him with favours.
Things turned ugly when the goons joined in. When Awasthi tried to protest, they trained guns on him while Ansari roughed him up. The other jail inmates and guards merely watched, daring to do nothing.
Awasthi today confirmed that Ansari and some aides had misbehaved with him but termed the incident “not too serious”. Senior officials at the prison headquarters have decided not to take cognisance of the incident as Awasthi has not lodged a police report.