Prison sources said that many of the protestors were life and long term convicts and were not aware of losing remission for good conduct

Tension prevailed at the Coimbatore Central Prison entrance and visitors area on Thursday, when members of various Hindu outfits staged a demonstration protesting against the alleged denial of “rights” to Puri Kamal, a Hindu outfit functionary serving life term in a murder case.

According to prison sources, Puri Kamal reportedly delayed the locking in of the prisoners till 8.30 p.m. on Wednesday (Vinayaka Chathurthi). Normally, after dinner, prisoners used to be locked in at 6 p.m. On Wednesday, nearly 50 prisoners assembled with Puri Kamal and raised slogans demanding that other prisoners be unlocked from their cells for immersion of a Vinayakar idol that Puri Kamal had installed in the outer jail area.

Puri Kamal is in an outer jail with six cells but occupied by two inmates. The decision to keep him in a separate enclosure was taken in the wake of his activities sparking trouble and unrest inside the prison. The main prison complex houses those belonging to the minority community convicted in the Coimbatore Serial Blasts case.

Prison sources said that many of the protestors were life and long term convicts and were not aware of losing remission for good conduct by supporting the activities of Puri Kamal. On realising the same, some convicts had called off their agitation plans.

Superintendent of Central Prison A. Murugesan on Wednesday night told prisoners that the issue could be resolved on Thursday.

Prison Administration informed the prisoners that on Friday between 4 p.m. and 6.30 p.m., they could immerse the idol when the other idol immersions would take place in the city.

Meanwhile, members of the Hindu outfits staged a protest at the Central Prison entrance flaying the prison administration for discriminatory treatment to Puri Kamal and alleging that prison administration was playing spoil sport with religious sentiments of Hindu prisoners.

A group of lawyers who filed applications for meeting the other Hindu prisoners also accused the prison administration of not “granting due rights to Puri Kamal and other Hindu prisoners and accused of discriminatory treatment” in terms of meeting visitors at the interview room.

The lawyers demanded that the prison administrative gave it in writing that “it was the prerogative of the Superintendent to decide on the time, date and place of meeting a prisoner”. The prison administration also gave it in writing. Prison sources said that Puri Kamal in his separate enclosure had made a Vinayakar idol made of clay soil there and had installed it. The situation on Thursday was defused.

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