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COVID-19 impact: inmates of two city prisons complain of ‘poor’ conditions

They demand to be released from Rohini, Mandoli jails on parole

In a few videos that have surfaced online, inmates at Rohini and Mandoli jails can be seen complaining of “poor” conditions prevailing in the prisons since the COVID-19 outbreak. They have demanded to either be released on parole or be taken care of.

In a video purportedly shared by inmates of Rohini jail, a person can be heard saying: “There is no space to sleep. Toilets are dirty. Food is inadequate. Once COVID-19enters the jail, it will spread. One person has been tested positive in OPD. It is being hidden from us.” He added that they are on a hunger strike.

In another video from cell number 15 in Mandoli jail, an inmate said there is no medical facility and the food being served “is worse than what is fed to animals”. He alleged that they are not provided with masks and sanitizers. “If someone suffers from cold and we inform the authorities, we are asked to keep mum and threatened that action will be taken against us,” he said.

An inmate said: “Release us on parole or ensure that if any of us die of the disease, then compensation should be given to our families.” Responding to the videos, Director General of Prisons Sandeep Goel said they are looking into the matter and that a phone, used to record the videos, has been recovered. “Some prisoners tried to create problems on Sunday afternoon but everything was brought under control,” he said.

He said the condition of toilets “is not so bad as projected in the video although there are stains etc. in the toilets…it seems that bottles and plastic have been deliberately stuffed”.

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