Hazaribagh, June 26: Around 60 rebels at Loknayak Jai Prakash Narayan Central Jail led by Ravi Sharma, once the head of the CPI(Maoist)’s military group, today began a week-long hunger strike alleging misuse of the Crime Control Act (CCA) to keep them constantly behind bars.
Sharma and his wife Anuradha — a former head of the CPI(Maoist) women wing in Andhra Pradesh who is also jailed in Hazaribagh — led the strike along with other top rebels such as Narsingha Rao and Bhagirath Mahto and submitted a list asking prison staff to stop misuse of the act.
In a written statement, Sharma said following arrests, police never bothered to open pending cases against the arrested rebels. But, he added, police used to slap cases under CCA on them frequently to prevent their release.
Once a Maoist was out on bail, police would arrest and forward him to jail in another case, Sharma added.
Citing an example, Sharma said that on April 26, Maoist Shivcharan Manjhi was released but the cuffs were put on him again just as he walked out of the jail gate.
Two other rebels, Nalla Bhikshapati and Rao, met with the same fate that very day at Chaibasa jail, he added.
Superintendent of police (SP) Pankaj Kamboj pointed out that on his recommendation, the deputy commissioner (DC) could invoke CCA against any criminal perceived as a threat to society.
The criminal may appeal to the government, which forms a panel comprising high court judges that summons the SP and DC to justify the arrest. If satisfied with the duo’s arguments, the panel can approve imposition of the act, allowing the person concerned to be jailed for a year.
Sharma today alleged that the act was imposed intentionally against Maoists by the police citing security reasons.
He added undertrials were being lodged in distant jails and not produced before court on the same pretext.
The rebel said that several Maoists were jailed under CCA, including five in Chaibasa and one each in Garhwa and Tenughat. Sharma threatened to continue the strike till July 2.
Jailer Chandrashekhar Suman told The Telegraph: “We have sent the list of demands to the state police higher-ups in Ranchi.”
The Hazaribagh jail has 1,850 prisoners, including 100 women and 80 Maoists.