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Objectionable word inscribed on jail inmate’s back
J.S. Malhotra

Jalandhar, July 3
In a brutal incident, an objectionable word was allegedly inscribed on the back of an inmate by the jail doctor and the Deputy Superintendent of Jail with the help of some surgical instrument on the jail premises late last night. This has put a question mark on the functioning of the jails in Punjab where inmates are being treated in inhuman way. A similar case was reported from Amritsar Central jail yesterday.

The incident came into light when the counsel of the jail inmate, identified as Malkiat Singh, moved an application in the court of the Additional District and Sessions Judge, Mr S.K. Garg, that his client was allegedly tortured and beaten up by the jail staff and added that the Deputy Superintendent of the jail Mr Satpal Singh, along with the jail doctor, Mr Chander Shekhar had inscribed an objectional word on the back of Malkiat Singh with the help of some surgical instrument.

Later, Malkiat Singh was produced in the court where he narrated his tale of woes. The court ordered the police to ensure proper medical examination of the inmate before sending him back to the jail and issued notice to the District Attorney to submit a reply by July 12 in this regard.

Talking to reporters outside the court, Malkiat Singh, who was facing allegations of attempt to murder, said his fault was only that he had complained of pain in abdomen to the jail doctor late last night. “I asked the jail staff and the doctor to give me some medicine. But, the doctor and the Deputy Superintendent of Jail beat me up mercilessly for disturbing them in the night. They later forcibly inscribed objectionable word on my back to teach me a lesson,” he added.

“The duo said that there are no medicines for Scheduled Castes people. Besides, they threatened me of dire consequences if the matter was reported outside the jail,” Malkiat Singh said, who was visibly shaken due to this inhuman treatment.

Interestingly, the central jail has dubious distinction of being the worst-managed prison as a magisterial inquiry had recently found that inmates were having easy access to psychotropic substances. Besides, a inmate had allegedly died last week under mysterious circumstances on the jail premises after taking an overdose of drugs.

Dr Gurpal Singh, medical officer on duty in emergency ward of the local Civil Hospital, revealed that Malkiat Singh was thoroughly examined and it was confirmed that the objectionable word was inscribed on his back 24 to 48 hours ago. The wounds on his head and lashes marks on his body were also reported in the medical report, he added.

When contacted, Mr Satpal Singh refuted the allegations and said Malkiat Singh was a drug addict and was trying to pressurise them by levelling such baseless allegations for allowing access to opium. “Malkiat Singh is making attempts to blackmail us. He may have written this word on his back with the help of other inmates. I have nothing to do with the incident,” he added.
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