They call me a terrorist, beat me up: ex Congress councillor Ishrat Jahan

Most undertrials have told courts that they are being harassed, and called terrorists by other jail inmates


A Delhi court has directed Mandoli jail authorities to take immediate steps to ensure former Congress councillor and UAPA accused undertrial Ishrat Jahan’s security. The court also asked the jail officials to ensure that she was not harassed further. The judge also sought a detailed report from the prison authorities on Wednesday detailing the steps that have been taken and to mention if shifting Jahan to another jail was required.

Ishrat Jahan’s husband Farhan Hashmi and sister Sarwer Jahan have alleged that she was “beaten and abused” by inmates, in her cell in Mandoli jail on Tuesday, December 22, as reported The Quint.

According to the report, Farhan said, “This is the second time that this is happening. Her clothes have been torn, her head smashed against the wall several times. She is being constantly abused and threatened. They are constantly extorting her to do things… to let her live peacefully. They are saying things like she has to arrange a litre of milk everyday.” 

The former Congress councillor Ishrat Jahan, arrested in connection with the north-east Delhi riots, and charged under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, herself told a city court that she was assaulted by inmates at Mandoli Jail, stated news reports. Some other accused have also alleged that they too are being discriminated against and harassed.

According to multiple  news reports Ishrat Jahan told the additional sessions judge Amitabh Rawat that this was the second such attack within one month. She said she had been assaulted, and was under “immense stress due to the continuous physical and verbal harassment.” Jahan told the court that she was attacked, beaten up and verbally abused in the morning, and that one of her attackers slit her own hand so that “I am punished based on a false complaint. I have given a written complaint also” she said, addin that the other inmates “keep calling me a terrorist”.

The Assistant Superintendent of Mandoli jail confirmed the incident and told the court that necessary steps have been taken. However, the judge told the jail official, that Jahan “seems to be in a state of utter fear. Please talk to her immediately and understand the situation. File a detailed report about the steps taken to allay her.”

The state unit of the Congress has also stood behind Jahan, Anil Chowdhary, 

President, Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee stated, “We stand firmly behind Ishrat Jahan and will do everything required to ensure she is out of jail.”

According to the Indian Express, Advocate Pradeep Teotia, appearing for Jahan, also told the court of previous incidents of assault faced by Jahan. He said, “One of the inmates beat her up badly previously. A complaint was filed before the Deputy Superintendent and that inmate was shifted to another jail. There are two ladies in her prison cell who beat her up today. While she was offering her morning prayers, they objected to it and started abusing and beating her.”

Jahan added that she “was suffering from a medical condition” but had not been taken for a medical examination yet. The IE report added that 

Advocate Rizwan, appearing for co-accused and suspended AAP councillor Tahir Hussain, also told the court that most of the riot accused were facing discrimination in prison, either by inmates or jail authorities, and that “they have been declared terrorists before conclusion of the trial. Jail authorities behave adversely with them,” he said adding that a “proper monitoring by the court is important in the cases, especially the conspiracy case in which the accused have been booked under the UAPA.” 

ASJ Rawat has said, “An accused is an accused, not a convict.”

According to the IE, even Jamia student Asif Iqbal Tanha, also facing trial in a riots case, told the court he has repeatedly been called a “terrorist” in jail, co-accused Athar Khan also asked the court to shift him from the general ward since other inmates “behave strangely” with him after hearing he is a riot accused.

Now, Ishrant Jahan has put on record that she has been facing harassment in jail for the past four months and had requested that she be shifted to Tihar, but the request was denied due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Advocate Pradeep Teotia, contended that previously too she had been beaten up, following which one of the inmates was shifted to another jail. Meanwhile,  ASJ Rawat apart from directing jail authorities to take immediate steps to ensure Jahan’s security and ensure that she was not harassed further, has also sought a detailed report from the prison authorities on Wednesday, detailing the steps that have been taken and to mention if shifting Jahan to another jail was required.


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