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Orwell in Happy’s jail cell

Happy Singh’s brothers-in-law will carry a pack of 28 books, a copy of the Granth Sahib, five of his paintings and a set of paintbrushes and colours when they return to Delhi with his body.

Happy, a convict in the Khadim’s abduction case, died at Presidency jail on Monday after being hit on the head allegedly by a mentally ill inmate, Nizamuddin.

“He mostly read short stories in English. In his collection was a book by George Orwell,” said an officer. “Happy would also read religious texts. He would pray facing the Granth Sahib (the religious book of the Sikhs) every day.”

Sources said these books were Happy’s companions for the past two-and-a-half years, since being shifted to Presidency Correctional Home from Behrampore jail.

Happy’s brothers-in-law on Wednesday met the top brass at the jail and sought all the items that were with him during his stay in custody.

Sources said the two met senior officers at Hastings police station and produced documents to prove their identities before claiming Happy’s body at the police morgue attached to Calcutta Medical College and Hospital.

The body was handed over around 5.30pm after post-mortem, almost 48 hours since the murder.

A preliminary post-mortem report suggests that Happy died of intra-cranial haemorrhage, resulting from cerebral damage caused by the use of a blunt weapon.

The report suggests that the temporal bone in Happy’s skull had fractured, leading to damage to the cranial nerves.

Sources said CID officers would soon visit the jail to scan documents bearing the timings of the inmates’ release from their cells to a courtyard on Monday.

“We will collect a copy of the post-mortem report. It will be an important document in the probe into Happy’s murder,” an officer said.

Contempt plea

Advocate Tapas Bhanja filed a petition in the high court on Wednesday seeking contempt proceedings against the home secretary and the director-general of the jail department for Happy’s murder. Bhanja also sought a compensation of Rs 25 lakh for Happy’s family.

“The policemen responsible for the death of the prisoner should be punished,” the petition stated.

Earlier in the day, Bhanja moved the division bench of Chief Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Joymalya Bagchi with a copy of Tuesday’s The Telegraph, submitting: “An inmate of Presidency jail has been killed by another inmate. This court had passed an order on June 13 last year asking the state to provide adequate security to the inmates. This order has not been carried out properly”.

The petition will come up for hearing on May 13.