The story of the Byculla prison riot seems to be getting darker every day, and it was already pretty dark to begin with.
Indrani Mukerjea, one of the inmates of Byculla prison accused of participating in the riot that broke out over the death of another inmate, will be produced in a CBI special court today. This comes after her lawyer filed an application alleging that she had been assaulted and threatened with sexual abuse by jail officials. Mukerjea alleges that she was later beaten by prison authorities for being part of the riot.
The sequence of events leading up to this began in Byculla prison after another inmate named Manju Shetye died from injuries inflicted by woman officers of the jail. Inmates allege that Shetye was tortured by prison authorities, and that a lathi was inserted into her private parts. She was also popular among the inmates, which they say is part of the reason why the prison authorities disliked her. Her murder caused 200 inmates of Byculla prison to riot, during which they set fire to paper and other properties.
It’s a shocking story from beginning to end. Prison riots aren’t exactly common in India, and this one seems to be an expression of real outrage and horror, especially when the gruesome details of torture and sexual violence come to light. It’s also a reminder of how horrifying prison conditions are in India, and how little we know about what actually goes on in prisons until really terrible instances like this, or the recent events at a Tumkur women’s prison that resulted in one woman attempting suicide, come to light.
Police have booked six prison officials for the murder of Manju Shetye, and have also registered cases against the 200 inmates for rioting and mischief.