“They have not beaten us but we were subjected to severe mental torture and humiliation,” said Padma, wife of CPI (Maoist) central committee member Akkiraju Haragopal alias Ramakrishna (RK,) about her detention in the Koraput jail after being arrested along with Eswari, Roja Mandali and jeep driver Kuldeeep in November last.
Ms. Padma, alias Sirisha, and Ms. Eswari reached Visakhapatnam in the early hours of Wednesday after being granted bail by a court in Jeypore on Tuesday after the Orissa government had decided to release them as part of the gentlemen's agreement with the Maoist party for securing the release of Malkangiri Collector R. Vineel Krishna in February.
Virasam (revolutionary writers association) president G. Kalyana Rao, who is also brother-in-law of Ms. Padma, and Ms. Eswari's sister Annapurna, secretary of APCLC district unit, brought them from Koraput to Virasam senior member Chalasani Prasad's house here.
Ms. Padma, who is working in a Hyderabad orphanage ‘Rainbow', had been on her way to meeting RK (who is made in-charge of the Andhra-Orissa border special zonal committee of the Maoist party some time ago) in Orissa when she and others were arrested from a jeep near Similiguda. “I have no connection with the party except being RK's wife. What is wrong in a woman trying to meet her husband? But the police arrested me and pressured me to admit that I am an active member of the party,” she said. The last time she met RK was during the 2004 peace talks.
The jail staff would serve them food in metal buckets used in toilets and bathrooms and when Padma protested, she was told that the government had told them to do so. Inmates would frequently suffer from fever and paracetamol tablet was given. Only once, when she had almost collapsed, she was taken to a doctor outside the jail for treatment. Ms. Padma and Ms. Eswari said there were nearly 160 Girijan men and women in Koraput jail. Anyone questioning the authority was being arrested.
Ms. Eswari said she was doing tailoring and had no connection with the party. Mr. Kalyana Rao said the Orissa government was not implementing gentlemen's agreement in full measure. Only if Maoist leader Ganti Prasadam was released on June 30 and all the 700 Girijans in jails were released, one would believe that the Orissa government was sincere, he said.