Nepalgunj prison inmates complain of misconductThe inmates have submitted a demand note to the local administration accusing the jailer of bribery.
Inmates of Nepalgunj Prison in Banke district resorted to a brief protest against irregularities and mismanagement in the prison on Thursday. They padlocked the prison gate (from inside) and kept Bharat Fadera (a Chaukidar) and Man Bahadur Shahi (a Naike) from entering the prison.
The inmates complained of mistreatment at the hands of the jailer, Chaukidar (a guard) and Naike (a leade) of the prison. Bikash KC, an inmate, said that the jail administration is extremely mismanaged. “There are so many irregularities inside the prison. For instance, we have to pay Rs 100 for a kg of radish whereas radish cost only Rs 60 per kg outside the prison gates. We are also subjected to physical and mental torture inside the prison.”
The inmates have also submitted a demand note to the local administration which states that the jailer took a bribe from Fadera to appoint him as a guard.
The position of a Chaukidar is a coveted one among all inmates. A former inmate is selected and appointed as one and he overlooks the day-to-day management inside the prison. The appointment is done on the basis of his/her good behaviour while serving his/her jail sentence. The individual then acts as a leader for the term-serving inmates inside the prison.
On Friday, the protest was withdrawn after the local administration reached an agreement to form an investigation committee to find out the internal problem of the prison. “We have transferred the jailer and suspended the guard and the leader as well,” said Kumar Bahadur Khadka, Chief District Officer of Banke.
Bhagat Singh, one of the inmates, blamed the guard and the leader of the jail of extortion. “The guard and the leader of the jail extort money from us. This jail has turned into a money minting enterprise for them. We cannot tolerate this mismanagement,” he said.
However, Bharatraj Pandey, the jailer, has denied all allegations. “The prison is flooded with inmates beyond capacity. Because of this, we are unable to control the inmates. Those nearing the end of their sentence want to be appointed as guards and that is when tensions inside the prison rise,” said Pandey.
Bir Bahadur Oli, superintendent of police in Banke, said that the prison has run out of space due to a drastic increase in the number of inmates. The prison designed to hold approximately 300 inmates currently holds over 772 inmates. “This has threatened security in the prison,” said Oli.
Bikash Acharya, a legal practitioner, however, agrees with the inmates and points at the weak management of jail administration. “The inmates are put through hardships inside the prison. The torment they face goes against human rights,” said Acharya, adding the concerned authority should immediately find alternatives to solve the problem.
Rupa Gahatraj contributed reporting.