Detained Maoists call off 12-day hunger strike

2010-12-22
Kolkata, Dec 22 (IANS) Maoists and pro-rebel inmates lodged in two prisons in West Bengal Wednesday withdrew their 12-day-old fast after assurances that facilities inside the jails will be improved.

The prisoners, including pro-Maoist tribal group People’s Committee Against police Atrocities (PCAPA) convenor Chhatradhar Mahato, had started an indefinite huger strike Dec 10, pressing for a 32-point charter of demands.

The prisoners, lodged in Midnapore and Jhargram correctional homes (jails in West Bengal are called correctional homes), called off their strike after the authorities assured them that they will upgrade the infrastructure, said Kaushik Sinha, counsel for those detained.

The 32-point charter of demands include immediate release of all PCAPA members and other people arrested from Junglemahal (Maoist affected forested areas of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia) on charges of being Maoists and withdrawal of charges under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), said Sinha.

‘Though 218 prisoners started the indefinite hunger strike, only 35, including Chhatradhar and social activists Raja Sarkhel, continued the strike till this afternoon,’ additional director general of police (correctional services) B.D. Sharma said.

‘We have forwarded their demands to the government. We have nothing to do with their political demands, but we have assured them about upgrading and setting up the infrastructure with in the correctional homes.

‘There was lack of proper drinking water system. We have assured them that necessary steps will be taken to provide safe drinking water,’ said Sharma.

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