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Legs Held Apart, Lathi Inserted Into Private Part — The Horrific Murder That Sparked The Byculla Jail Riot: Report

"Accidental death"?

27/06/2017 1:45 PM IST | Updated 27/06/2017 3:11 PM IST
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Holding on to the bars... for a very long time.

When prisoner Manjula Shetye went to Byculla jail officer Manisha Pokharkar's room on Friday, allegedly to complain about two missing eggs and five missing pieces of pav bread, little did her fellow prisoners know that by the day end she would be dead.

Doctors at JJ Hospital, in their post mortem report have said Shetye's body had several "marks of injuries and pulmonary edema." There were "multiple contusions all over the body, including on the scalp." The Hindustan Times on Tuesday quoted a copy of the FIR it had in its possession to reveal horrific torture by jailors.

At 9 AM on Friday, Shetye, who was also the warden of her barrack, noticed some food items missing. She went to Pokharkar to complain. However, according to eyewitnesses, she came out screaming with pain. What ensued was beyond horrific. A group of jailors allegedly came to the barrack and started assaulting Shetye. She was stripped naked, women constables held her legs open while another allegedly inserted a lathi into her private part, according to the HT report.

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Indrani Mukerjea, Founder & CEO, INX Media Pvt. Ltd. and Chairperson, INX News Pvt. Ltd. poses for a profile shoot on April 18, 2008 in Mumbai.

A bleeding Shetye was left in the barrack and only when she collapsed in the bathroom, she was taken to the resident doctor who immediately got her transferred to the JJ Hospital where she passed away.

Six jail staffers were placed under suspension and police registered a case under IPC section 302 (murder).

Sanjay Baswat, Senior Inspector at Nagpada Police Station told DNA: "We have registered a case of accidental death and will make a panchnama to proceed with the post mortem at JJ Hospital."

Anand, Shetye's brother told the paper he suspected his sister was beaten up inside the jail and killed in "order to hide the incident". He alleged that a post-mortem was not conducted immediately and the family informed after almost 12 hours of her death.

Manjula was serving a life sentence for killing her sister-in-law in 1996. A sessions court convicted her and her mother Godavari, a sentence that was upheld by the Bombay High Court in 2009. She was moved to Byculla about three months ago.

Following her death, jail inmates went on a rampage, burning clothes and newspapers, and demonstrating on the roof of the jail. A full fledged riot had broken out and Indrani Mukerjea, the prime accused in the Sheena Bora murder case, was booked with 200 others for rioting.

Mukerjea, according to NDTV, is willing to testify about Shetye's death. The NDTV report too stated that the woman prisoner was sexually assaulted.

The Human Rights Watch, in its 'Prison Conditions in India' report, detailed custodial torture in graphic details. It said more than 50 percent of the women interviewed complained of violence and abuse in police custody. They have been whipped with belts, hung with a pole around the back of the neck and arms, caned on the palms and on the soles of their feet, or had their hair yanked by two policemen from either side.

Last year, three persons, including the warden of Rampur jail were suspended after the death of a 21-year-old woman inmate. Geeta's family have alleged that she was killed by the jail authorities while prima facie investigations suggested suicide.

Incidents of human rights violations have been reported from Tihar, South Asia's largest jail. A woman prisoner in 2012 told a Delhi court that she and her daughter were repeatedly beaten up by the warden.

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