Berhampur: Five undertrial prisoners, including three women, housed in special sub-jail, Bhanjanagar, in Ganjam district allegedly involved in Maoist activities launched hunger strike from Friday. The inmates are demanding faster trial of their cases or release on bail. They also sought political prisoner status.
The five are identified as Kandra Dalabehera, Kadam Bajali, Telem Soni, Malati Majhi and K Anita, official sources said.
All of them are languishing in the jail for over four years, the sources said. The trial is slow as witnesses, mainly the police officers, are not turning up. Around eight to 12 cases are pending against each, the sources said.
They skipped their breakfast and lunch. “We are trying to convince them to take food,” said superintendent-cum-jailer U K Mohapatra. He said their grievances are intimated to the local court.
Most of the striking prisoners were lodged in Bhanajangar sub-jail after being shifted from Berhampur circle jail, the sources said. On May 6 last year, they had also resorted to hunger strike in the sub-jail. They had called off the fast after three days when authorities assured to fulfil their demands, the sources added.
Narendra Mohanty and Biswapriya Kannungo, the convener and the adviser of the NGO ‘Campaigning Against Fabricated Cases’, Odisha, have extended their solidarity to the striking undertrials. They demanded the fives’ unconditional release.