In an open letter to the media, the judiciary, the police and the district authorities, several undertrials of the Mangalore district prison have demanded action against a warden there for allegedly extorting money from those in jail.
The letter has been written by Mohammed Faisal Ibrahim Sheik, an undertrial who has been in prison for eight months now.
It states that Dayanand, the warden in the judicial wing of the prison, collects money from jail inmates on their release and even to produce them with police escorts in court.
“He tells us that there is shortage of escorts who can come, and only those who can pay up will be provided escorts for their court dates,” he said in the letter addressed to the Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court, Sessions Courts, Mangalore, Mangalore City Police Commissioner, Dakshina Kannada Deputy Commissioner, among others.
Mr. Sheik also alleged that the warden extorts money to get them medical help when they fall ill.
He also alleged that Mr. Dayanand has close ties with right-wing Hindu groups in the district, and displays communal bias and abusive prejudice when dealing with the jail inmates.
With the support of 52 other undertrials from various communities who have appended their names and signatures to the letter, Mr. Sheik asked authorities to transfer the warden to another jail to “improve the environment in the jail”.
Denying the allegations against his subordinate, Jail Superintendent K. Doddakamaiah said: “Since I took charge more than a month ago, no such complaint has come to me. The allegations seem to be after some were denied escorts. Five policemen had come, so only three prisoners could be taken on December 29.”
When it was pointed out that a large number of undertrials had signed the letter making the allegations, he said, “They must have been forced to sign the letter, or signed it thinking it was for better facilities in the prison. The allegations are completely false.”