Only 17 prisoners allowed to cast vote in Manipur

Out of over 1,000 prisoners lodged in various jails in Manipur, just 17 of them were given chance to cast their votes on Thursday, the final phase of polls in the state. There is no official explanation as to why other prisoners were denied the right to vote.

Sources said that the jail authority had written official letters seeking information on whether the inmates of the jails in the state shall be given a chance to cast their votes in the Lok Sabha elections. Except from the Imphal East and Imphal West districts, there was no response.

There are altogether 689 prisoners in these two districts. Out of them 54 are detained under the National Security Act. Just 17 of them were given the right to exercise their franchise. Special security arrangements have been made to facilitate the prisoners to cast their vote.

Irom Sharmila denied voting

On the other hand, the prayer by Irom Sharmila to allow her to cast her vote was not entertained. She has been on fast unto death since November 4, 2000 demanding repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958. She is charged with attempting to commit suicide. Under this charge she can be detained for one year at a stretch. In view of her frail condition she is lodged in the special ward of J.N. Institute of Medical Sciences where one room has been declared sub jail.