Bhopal: 5 central jail prisoners test HIV positive on return

Bhopal: Five prisoners released from Bhopal Central Jail in last one year were diagnosed with HIV, claimed the counsellor of antiretroviral therapy (ART) centre at Hamidia hospital. The counsellor Sanjana Singh, while talking to Free Press, further claimed that the people who were found to be HIV positive were allegedly sodomised in the jail, the allegation sternly refuted by prison authorities.

Sanjana, a transgender, is a counsellor and also works in the field of HIV-AIDS prevention. Speaking about one of the cases, she said that one of her community members had a male friend who was booked in some case and was sent to Bhopal Central Jail.

“On his return from jail after six months, he and Sanjana’s transgender friend had to perform a ritual as per their community tradition, however before that they were to undergo a medical check-up. But to their shock, the man was diagnosed with HIV in the check-up.”

“On being asked, he disclosed that he was sodomised in the jail. The matter was taken up with the jail administration, but the authorities rubbished the charges that he was infected with HIV in prison.” “Not only this, even the guards had threatened him of dare consequences if he blamed the jail administration for his disease,” said Sanjana.

After this incident, four more cases of same nature were reported, Sanjana claimed. The counsellor said that she had also suggested the MP state Aids Control Society that condoms should be provided to inmates in the jail.

She cited examples of various jails across the country where condoms are kept in a basket for inmates. However, DG jail GR Meena said that in jails all sexual activities are prohibited as it is against the law. He refuted the allegations of incidents of sodomy inside the prison. He said that currently in the jails 207 HIV positive and 120 TB patients are staying in isolated wards and are given medical treatment.

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