| Biswas (left) with Chakrabarty. Picture by Surajit Roy
Malda, June 3: A baton is part of the uniform.
Additional inspector-general of prisons Panchanan Biswas today said there was “nothing wrong” in a warder entering a correctional home with a stick.
Biswas also met suspected Maoist leader Animesh Chakrabarty at the district hospital and persuaded him to withdraw the fast. Chakrabarty broke his hunger strike with fruit juice. On his request, KLO militants who had joined him in his protest at the correctional home here, also took food.
Chakrabarty was hospitalised — following a court order — after he and two other inmates were injured in a clash that broke out in the jail yesterday. Four warders were also injured. Altogether 411 inmates, including eight KLO activists, are lodged in the correctional home. Around noon yesterday, warder Hiten Burman entered Chakrabarty’s cell, baton in hand. Chakrabarty, who had been shifted to Malda correctional home two years ago from Siliguri, had been fasting since Thursday demanding his release. Burman was accompanied by jailer Apurba Bhowmik.
Chakrabarty and other inmates protested on seeing the warder carrying a baton. When Burman tried to justify his act, Chakrabarty and the other inmates got agitated. They tore off Bhowmik’s shirt. Jail staff stepped in and resorted to lathicharge. The inmates retaliated by pelting stones at them.
Biswas and S.R. Hossain, the deputy inspector general, security, visited the jail today. The two officials said the conduct rule of warders did not prohibit them from entering the jail with lathis. “It is part of the uniform,” Biswas said. Chakrabarty has demanded punishment for the jailer and his deputy Tapamay Dutta. The suspected Maoist leader alleged that a section of the warders were angry because he has stopped the smuggling of marijuana, charas and other drugs into the jail.
Later talking to reporters, Biswas said: “Yesterday’s incident was unfortunate. The clash took place because of a misunderstanding. The jail conduct rule does not forbid a warder to carry baton.”
The officials said they would send their report to the inspector general of prisons, B.D. Sharma, shortly.