Mumbai: The shocking details of the manner in which a lady inmate of Byculla jail was beaten to death by prison officials are beginning to emerge. Another woman, Mariam Shaikh, who is also lodged in the same jail, has filed an FIR at Nagpada police station, saying she was witness to the incident. She says in her complaint that jailor Manisha Pokharkar beat Manju Shetye, the victim, in her private parts and left her to die. Mariam Shaikh claims that all Manju demanded was two eggs and five paavs (bread).
“Manju Shetye complained about the egg and paav (bread) that were served and for that she was beaten to death,” Mariam says in the FIR. Shete, a convicted for murder, was shifted from Yerwada jail to Byculla three months ago.
Mariam gives a graphic description of the incident on June 23. “At around 8 am, Shetye, who was the warden, distributed eggs and paav to inmates. She found there was a shortage of two eggs and five paavs. She brought it to the notice of Manisha Pokharkar, the jailor. Pokharkar gave some excuses and then threatened her. After this, inmates have some time to meet relatives at 10.30 am, when Shetye met her relatives. After which she returned to her cell. Pokharkar and a woman police constable, Surekha Gulwe, taunted her and took turns to assault Shetye.”
Mariam Shaikh goes on: “She (Shetye) was stripped and beaten with a baton. Two other constables, Naikde and Gulwe, held her feet and Waseema pushed the baton in Shetye’s private parts.” The matter didn’t end there. Mariam says Shetye was bleeding. In the evening, Shetye asked Shaikh to accompany her to the toilet, were she collapsed. “We informed prison staff Kavita Puja and Bharti, but they did not bother initially,” Mariam Shaikh wrote in the FIR.
Later, the prison staff called in Dr Sayyed Khan, the jail doctor. “Dr Khan advised the prison authority to immediately shift Shetye to hospital. She was taken Sir J.J. Hospital. On June 24, we heard that Shetye had died due to injuries.” The post-mortem report of Shetye clearly says she did not die of heart attack as the jail authorities would like us to believe. “A hard and blunt object was used to hit her. There were 12 injuries on the body,” said Dr T. P. Lahane, Dean of the hospital.
Sanjay Baswat, senior police inspector of Nagpada police station, told Free Press Journal, “We are going through the CCTV footage of Byculla jail. This is crucial for the investigation.” The jail authorities have also asked for the medical records of Shetye form Yerwada jail.
The state women’s commission has taken suo moto cognisance of the case and summons have been issued to several jail staff. The police have been asked to submit a report on June 29.