J. Vivek alias Balan (46), State secretary of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist), has embarked on a hunger strike inside Cuddalore Central Prison in support of his demands.

J. Vivek alias Balan (46), State secretary of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist), has embarked on a hunger strike inside Cuddalore Central Prison in support of his demands.

Vivek, allegedly involved in arms training at Periyakulam in Theni district in 2007, was nabbed by the ‘Q' branch sleuths at Shenoy Nagar in Chennai on May 19.

He was lodged in a Madurai jail and, on May 21, shifted to Cuddalore Central Prison. Ever since he was brought to Cuddalore, he has been complaining to the jail authorities about the lack of freedom to move around in the prison and “inadequate” breakfast served to inmates.

Jail Superintendent J. Shanmugasundaram told The Hindu that Vivek had breakfast on Wednesday but refused lunch. He had put forth four demands and made it clear that until they were conceded, he would continue the fast. Vivek has sought permission for a stroll on the prison campus in the morning and evening while freely mingling with other inmates. He wants a telephone or cell phone. He has demanded the dismantling of the Intelligence-cum-Vigilance team headed by a Sub-Inspector in the prison. He has lamented that the frugal breakfast inmates are served is not enough even for children.

Mr. Shanmugasundaram said that Vivek enjoyed the freedom to move around freely in his block No.16. Jail rules did not allow an inmate free access to the entire campus. The restriction was to avert complications or clashes.

Mr. Shanmugasundaram said that the breakfast was as per the jail manual. Each inmate was served 90 gm rice on the first four days of the week and 100 gm the last three days. It was not within the power of the jail authorities to reduce or increase the quantum. About the other two demands, Mr. Shanmugasundaram said they were also beyond his purview. He had a talk with Vivek and tried persuading him to give up the fast. He would again speak to him.

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