Friday, August 31, 2007

Maoists' Gandhigiri: Strike for political prisoner status

Apparently inspired by Gandhigiri, the Maoists lodged in various jails across Bihar are on a daylong token hunger strike on Friday demanding status of political prisoners, ending corruption in prisons and improving civic amenities.

The CPI-Maoist activists, in an obvious acknowledgment of the power of passive resistance practiced by Gandhiji during the freedom struggle, began their 12-hour hunger strike on Friday morning under the banner of ''Political Prisoners Release Committee (Bihar-Jharkhand)''.

''The stir is peaceful so far. As a precautionary measure, additional contingents of police headed by magistrates have been deployed in sensitive jails like the Beur Central Jail in the state capital and Sasaram,'' Director (Prisons) A C Mishra said.

The committee had distributed pamphlets on August five seeking status of political prisoners, effective steps for a check on corruption by the jail staff, improvement in quality of food, proper healthcare and civic amenities, besides non-transfer of naxalites from one jail to another.

The naxalites also sought ending the solitary confinement of a top commander Ajay Kanu, responsible for the Jehanabad jailbreak on November 13, 2005 in which hundreds of Maoists had escaped.

''The jail administration is looking into their demand for improved civic amenities, healthcare and a check on corrupt practices by jail officials, but their demand for status of political prisoners is ridiculous as they have refused to be part of the political mainstream,'' Mishra said.

He said the Maoists have refused to take food since morning but will have dinner.

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