Assam Human Rights Commission (AHRC) Issues Notice to IG Prisons

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Guwahati, Dec 22 (PTI): The Assam Human Rights Commission (AHRC) on Wednesday issued a notice to the state Inspector General of Prisons to inquire into the allegations made by suspended Congress MLA Sherman Ali Ahmed regarding human rights violations and pathetic living conditions in the Guwahati Central Jail.

AHRC member Deva Kumar Saikia directed the IG (Prisons) to conduct an inquiry and submit a report within one month of the receipt of the notice, the Commission said in a press release.

The matter has been listed for January 24, 2022.

The MLA from Baghbar was released on bail in early December after serving two months in Guwahati Central Jail.

The Commission took suo motu cognisance of media reports on Ahmed’s claims that human rights of inmates, prison manual rules, and provisions of the Prisons Act were being flouted by the jail authorities, the release said.

Ahmed, who was arrested on October 4, was jailed for misappropriation of funds and in a separate case over his ‘provocative’ remarks on the eviction drive in Darrang district.

The eviction drive that was carried out at Gorukhuti in Darrang district in September this year had turned violent, claiming two lives besides causing injury to several others.

After his release from jail, Ahmed had told journalists that basic facilities such as proper medical care, toilets, and adequate drinking water were lacking in the jail due to which the inmates and undertrial prisoners were serving their terms in deplorable conditions.

Ahmed had mentioned that around 2,000 inmates and undertrial prisoners lodged in the jail were suffering a lot due to the lack of a full-fledged hospital and adequate health care facilities in the prison.

The undertrials were deprived of proper legal aid services and the jail was understaffed, he had said.

Pointing out that there was an urgent need for jail reforms, which he claimed had not been discussed for the past ten years, Ahmed had suggested setting up of small-scale industries inside the jail to utilise the services of the prisoners.

The MLA had been suspended by the Congress for ”repeatedly violating party discipline” by making “communally provocative statements”.

Reacting to reports that alleged encroachers in Darrang district had disrespected the memory of eight people from the area who were killed during the Assam agitation in 1983, the three-time legislator had told newspersons that the eight people who were killed in Dholpur area during the stir were not martyrs but ‘killers’.

The chief minister’s Vigilance Cell again arrested him on October 6 over his alleged involvement in siphoning off funds meant for construction of roads in Mandia block of his constituency.

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