Raipur: Inmates began “Jail Satyagrah” for better facilities


Raipur:  Raipur Jail Inmates launched a hunger strike called “Jail Satyagrah” on Sunday October 2, demanding better facilities for themselves. The 30-hour hunger strike began after they submitted a 16 points long list of their demands for better facilities to the Jail Authorities.

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 More than 1,000 of the 3,391 inmates in Raipur’s central jail had refused to have food and repeated attempts to pacify them had failed, the officials reported.

Officials said the fast was called off Monday afternoon after officials spoke to the protesters. But the real spectacle was the social media campaign they managed to launch from within jail. (Facebook)

Nitin Chopra and his band of satyagrahis in Raipur’s central jail had a list of fancy demands – chewing tobacco, cigarettes, raising of the wage for daily labour release of prisoners who have served their life terms and three-star hotel food among them – which they were articulating through Facebook and Twitter.

Senior officials, including Giridhari Nayak, the DG (Prisons), jail superintendent and the Collector were all involved in talks. “Most of their demands, which are reasonable, will be met. There were other frivolous demands like non-vegetarian food and cigarettes. These have been dismissed,” an official said. “But the Facebook and Twitter page of Jail Satyagrah is a matter of concern and the cyber cell is investigating it,” the DIG added.

The prisoners’ novel social media strategy has the authorities in a fix with a probe ordered to figure out how the Facebook page — Chhattissgarh Jail Satyagarh — and Twitter handle –twitter.com/jailsatygarh were posting regular updates about the hunger strike.

“It is possible that some outsider was updating the page or some inmates, who go for court appearance outside the jail premises, update the page. I have talked to the DIG Raipur and the matter is now with cyber cell,” said Nayak.

Sources suggest that Chopra had the technical know-how to run the Facebook page and his aides may be behind the social media updates. “Soon the administrator of the page will be nabbed,” said Nayak.

On August 24, the inmates had sent a letter to Chhattisgarh chief minister Raman Singh and warned about the hunger strike on Gandhi’s birthday, October 2, if their demands weren’t met.

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