Row over HR activists’ visit to Viyyur prison
Wednesday January 9 2008 10:48 IST
THRISSUR: Suspecting to be extremists, the police action to hold a group of five human rights activists who came to make a fact-finding study in the Central Prison at Viyyur, near here, on Tuesday kicked off a controversy.
Members of the group were PUCL state president P A Powran, editor of Hindi language monthly ‘Janaprathirodh’ published from Delhi, Raj Kishore, Tamil Nadu PUCl secretary K Kesavan, P A Shyna and Thusar Nirmal Sarathi from Ernakulam.
Later, reporters at the Press Club here on Tuesday, they said that they had come to Thrissur to visit Viyyur Central Prison and meet P Govindankutty, 65, editor of ‘People’s March’, who is on remand in the prison since December 20.
They said that Govindankutty was arrested from Aluva on December 19 . His bail applications were rejected both by the Aluva Judicial First Class Magistrate and the Sessions Court.
They said that the purpose of their visit was to obtain the signature of Govindankutty on a vakalath for filing bail application in a higher court and also to make a fact-finding study of his situation in the prison.
The human rights activists said that Govindankutty was fasting in the jail and the jail authorities indulged in forced-feeding of glucose after tying his hands and legs.
They said that Govindankutty had told them that the jail authorities were treating him cruelly. They said that the jail authorities told them that he was being forcibly fed as per orders from higher authorities and requested them to urge Govindankutty to end his fast.
However, Govindan Kutty turned down their request for ending the fast. They said that the group had gone to Viyyur Central Prison on Monday and had presented their identities to the jail authorities.
However, the jail authorities could not grant them permission to enter the jail as it was late in the afternoon. They were allowed entry to the prison on Tuesday and meet Govindankutty.
They said that during the meeting, they obtained the signature on the vakalath from him. However, when they came out of the jail, the Viyyur police, led by the Sub- Inspector, asked them to come to the police station, which they refused as the police had no warrant.
They said that when asked why they were wanted in the police station, the police told them that it was for the verification of their identities.
They said they had informed the police that their addresses and other identities could be verified from the jail authorities. They said that dissatisfied with their reply, the police was planning to detain them. However, somehow they managed to escape.
They said that they will demand withdrawal of the false case against Govindankutty and compensation for his illegal detention from the State Government.