A letter written by Lt Col Shrikant Prasad Purohit, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, has revealed the horrific truth of Indian prisons. According to the letter, the army officer was beaten, abused and tortured while he was in custody of the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS).
A news source has managed to gain access of the 24-page letter in which Lt Col Purohit reveals the horror he had to face a few years back. Even though Lt Col Purohit was granted bail in the 2008 Malegaon blast case in August last year by the Supreme Court, his experience is enough to account for a lifetime of nightmares.
In the letter written to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) by Lt Col Purohit in December 2013 from the Navi Mumbai jail, Lt Col Purohit claimed that he was beaten mercilessly and threatened in order to own up to a crime he never was guilty of. The Army officer also alleged that he was held in illegal detention.
Notably, the claim by Lt Col Purohit was investigated by the NHRC. Officers who have been named in the letter have already responded and given their explanations to the human rights panel. However, it is the first time that the original copy of the letter is under public scrutiny.
A complaint has been sent to the Prime Minister’s office by an activist named Neeraj Gunde, who has sought a probe into the matter.
Meanwhile, speaking to a news source, Lt Col Purohit stood by his claims and confirmed all the allegations he has made, “It’s there in the letter,” he said.
On August 17, last year, Purohit had told the Supreme Court that he had been rotting away in jail for nine years after being caught in a “political crossfire”. The apex court had granted him bail, even though the Bombay High Court did not stand by this decision.