Women MPs visit Byculla Jail, meet inmates

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Mumbai, July 13 (IANS) A team of over 20 women parliamentarians from different parties visited the Byculla Jail here on Thursday in the wake of death of a woman inmate and subsequent violence last month.

Led by Assam MP Bijoya Chakravorty, who is head of the Parliamentary Committee on Empowerment of Women, the women MPs interacted with the jail inmates and staff.

The details of their visit and observations would form part of a national report on the status of women’s jails across the country, which the panel has been touring for the past nearly two years, said team member and Nationalist Congress Party Rajya Sabha MP Vandana Chavan.

“The report, with our suggestions and recommendations, will be submitted to Parliament and thereafter it will go to the ministry concerned for further action,” Chavan told IANS, while declining to divulge details of their visit to the Byculla Jail.

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Other team members included NCP’s Supriya Sule, Bharatiya Janata Party’s Raksha Khadse and DMK’s M.K. Kanimozhi.

The decision to visit Byculla Jail was taken after the death of a warder and convict Manjula Shetye, who was allegedly assaulted by women jail staff on June 23 and died shortly afterwards.

The following morning, riots were reported from inside the jail in which several women inmates were injured in battle with jail security. High profile undertrial and former media baron Indrani Mukerjea is one of the inmates at the jail.

Six jail staff, including Jailor Manisha Pokharkar, were suspended and later arrested by the Mumbai Police Crime Branch.

The Byculla Jail and the Maharashtra State Women’s Commission, which visited the prison last week, launched their independent inquiries into the incidents.

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In between, one of the senior jail officers, Deputy Inspector General (Prisons) Swati Sathe abruptly withdrew from the probe after some social media messages sent by her expressing sympathy for the arrested women sparked a major controversy.



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