BIRGUNJ, April 10: Some former inmates of the Birgunj Prison have made a shocking revelation about how the torture and violence by guards inside the jail compelled one of their friends to attempt suicide.
"This is an incident of April 1. The inmate is from Dharan and he had injured his hand after falling unconscious inside the prison," said Police Inspector of Parsa, Rewati Dhakal, adding, "We have found that he needs some kind of psychological counseling but we have no idea whether it was an attempt to commit suicide."
Reportedly, the guards and leaders of the inmates rule the prison that accommodates more than 1,200 occupants. As per those who are out of prison after serving their jail term, many occupants have reached a stage where they have suicidal thoughts due to the torture they face. Those who dare to raise their voice against the suppression and extortion are transferred to another prison.
They say no one dares to speak a word until they are in the prison. As per the practice, guards are chosen among the inmates and later the guard chooses his assistants and other leaders. "Guards are like the kings in the prison while their assistants are like the ministers," said one of the inmates seeking anonymity.
Three months ago, the incident of an inmate named Akash Mahato being brutally beaten inside the Birgunj Prison created a buzz. Guards charge the prisoners Rs 4 per minute for telephoning their family members. Those who make a call to India are obliged to pay Rs 30 per minute. "Despite knowing that the guards charge exorbitantly high amount for everything, no one dares to complain," said a person, who recently got out of the prison after serving a three-year jail term, adding, "Those who speak are taken to the lock up room and are beaten for the whole night."
According to him, if the price of a cauliflower is Rs. 40 in the local market, it will be Rs 120 inside the prison. Similarly, a 12-rupee egg will cost Rs 25 and a biscuit costing Rs 10 per pack is sold for Rs 30. Inmates have to pay Rs 200 for cutting their hair and beard. The family members of the prisoners are strictly prohibited from providing anything to the inmates even if it is a daily use material.
"It happened in the past but no one is surcharged now," said chief guard Shekh Bhola, adding, "It will be better if the Chief District Officer, Nepal Police, Armed Police, journalists among other come here for inspection so that we could get rid of these allegations." According to most former inmates, they were most scared of guards Sunil Jaiswal, Bikki Agarwal and Manoj Chauhan.
Inmates who belong to Birgunj are not allowed to transfer to Birgunj prison. Recently, Raja Yadav of Inarwa and Pannalal Yadav of Adarshanagar who sought their transfer from Bhimphedi and Jhumka prison respectively were not allowed to do so. Apparently, guards have access to all high-level officials of the prison.
It has been learnt that the inmates are asked for money based on their financial status. However, Sunil Khanal, the jailer, claims that the prison maintains high discipline.