July 22nd, 2016
On 18th July, we posted an article talking about the arrest of Piyush Manush, a social and an environmental activist who has been fighting for the cause of people for a long time. He was arrested for staging a protest against the construction of Mullvadi gate flyover in Salem, Tamil Nadu. Being a social activist, he had many confrontations with police, which angered them and has resulted into animosity. Piyush Manush has posted about his experience inside Jail on his timeline. Acc. to a report in The Hindu, he alleged that he was beaten up by around 30 prison officials including the Superintendent of Prisons. If true, this calls for Human Right Commission intervention and action against the policemen.
“The Assault Note in Salem Central Prison- On 8.7.2016 we were arrested in a few seconds of our embarking on a protest against the construction of Mullvadi gate flyover in Salem without acquiring land and laying of alternate roads. The protest got over in a few seconds at around 12.15 pm and we were taken to the town police station.
I requested the Town police & also the Judicial Magistrate no-1 to release my two friends and take me for remand. My appeal was turned down and three of us were arrested and sent to Salem Central Prison.
As usual, we were stripped and searched and after that an entry was made in the registry outside the main gate we were hauled in. A second-time strip search took place and suddenly a jail personnel hurriedly asked the Chief Warden to hurry up with the interview. I was asked my name, father’s name, address, and caste. I replied I am a born Jain so please enter OC – Open Caste. The prison warden out of a blue dragged me to the jailor’s room and took me to the Superintendent of Prison sitting in the Jailor’s chair.
As soon as I opened my mouth a hard slap struck me behind and I fell near the desk. Startled I asked why the beating and the Superintendent of Prison Mr. Senthil Kumar rose from his chair and started a flurry of baton charge on me. The next thing I could see was many personnel rushing into the room and started hitting with bamboo sticks especially in the foot palm. First I was assaulted on the floor and then placed on a long iron bench and the beating would have continued for 5 to 10 minutes.
I was hauled outside by the prison staff and made to wait on the steps at the end of the corridor. After I was joined by my two friends, the SP of the prison came out & hit a tight slap on my face asking me to stop thinking henceforth.
We three were then hauled to solitary confinement in the High-Security block – HS. After this physical assault, we were charged with burning of the National Flag by the entire prison staff who receded only after reading through the newspaper reports of the events that took place in the days to come.
After five days of the first assault, on Wednesday the 13-7-2016 during block inspection, the Superintendent again assaulted with a solid slap on my face & two more by Chief Warden Thirunavukarasu. The SP slapped me by saying -what was I doing outside. He left with instructions to the staff by saying aloud that ‘This fellow seems to be thinking always, hit him with one or two blows every time you all see him’.
Pain apart Humiliation is what takes its toll …”