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Prisoners on strike in Orissa Jail to protest bad food

Written by: Staff
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Bhubaneswar, Sep 11 (UNI) Nineteen striking prisoners of a jail in Orissa were hospitalised this morning after their condition deteriorated, jail officials said.

All 155 inmates of the sub-jail at Deogarh, 260 kms from here, were on an indefinite hunger strike since Saturday protesting alleged poor quality of food.

The 19 prisoners, who fell sick, were shifted to the local hospital by the jail authorities.

Hospital sources said eight of the 19 prisoners had to be given intra-venous fluid as their condition deteriorated.

The jail authorities, however, claimed that all 19 prisoners were later released after 'preliminary treatment'. ''Over 50 per cent of the prisoners have already taken food'', claimed Superintendent of Sambalpur Circle Jail BM Sai, , who was trying to persuade the inmates to call off their hunger strike. Mr Sai denied that the jail authorities resorted to coercion to feed the prisoners.

The prisoners demanded that a senior official of the Prison department must come and listen to their grievances and the Jailer, Gouranga Charan Jena, should be immediately transferred.

Concerned at the development, the Prison department is rushing Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Pradip Kumar Patnaik to Deogarh, department sources said.

Hunger strikes by the prisoners in protest against poor quality of food are becoming a frequent phenomenon in the state. In the past few months, inmates of Baripada, Choudwar, Bargarh and several other jails have gone on hunger strike for the same reason.

At seven rupees a person per day, the daily food allowance for prisoners is too meagre to provide them quality stuff, Prison department sources point out. They say it is for the state government to raise the food allowance. Prisoners, however, accuse prison officials of pilfering a large chunk of the money meant for buying foodstuff for them.

UNI XC PC VD DB2149

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