Elderly inmates want to die as free men
Bathinda, February 13
The two, Harnek Singh (98) and Mahabir Prasad (85), are undergoing imprisonment on the charges of murder and are now in a very bad state of health.
Although premature release of Harnek Singh has been cleared by the government, but no one from his family has come forward to complete the formality of filing surety for him. He is in the prison for the past nearly 19 years.
However, the surprise visit of Health Minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla to the Central Jail this morning has given hope of being set free to the two, who are almost crippled.
Chawla told the TNS that she would take up the matter with Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and the state Home Department, as there was no justification in keeping these men detained further.
Jail superintendent SP Singh said Harnek Singh had very poor eyesight and could hardly walk. Doctors have said that the other inmate, Mahabir Prasad, who was undergoing treatment in the jail hospital, was suffering from an acute heart disease and could collapse anytime.
SP Singh said it was being examined whether he could be set free on the advice of the medical board.
Chawla said she had asked the Deputy Commissioner, Mansa, to clear the decks for the release of Harnek Singh who belongs to that district.
SP Singh said some NGO might be asked on Monday to file surety for Harnek Singh so that he could be released from the jail.
Harnek Singh claimed that he was arrested at the age of about 80 when one of the kidnappers of a child got hurt and later succumbed to the injury that he received while he tried to stop them from carrying away the child. The kidnapping bid was thwarted but he was booked under Section 302, IPC, as the police got evidence of the story having been cooked by him.
Keeping in mind his ripe age, SP Singh took up the matter for the premature release of Harnek Singh with the Director-General of Prisons and the proposal was approved.
Another inmate, Mahabir Prasad, who was undergoing imprisonment for murder, was in a very bad condition because of some heart ailment. He has been lodged in the jail hospital for the past few months.
Chawla also visited the railway station here last night to meet cancer patients proceeding to Bikaner for treatment. She enquired about the treatment they were receiving there.
A large number of cancer patients from the Malwa region go to the Bikaner medical college for treatment of cancer.