Byculla Jail riot: Indrani Mukerjea claims prison officials used kids as human shields not her

Updated: 20 July, 2017 14:54 IST | Suraj Ojha | Mumbai

Pointing a finger at jail officials, Sheena Bora murder accused Indrani Mukerjea says they were the ones who threatened to harm kids if the inmates didn't stop their protest

It was the prison officials who used the children of inmates at Byculla jail as human shields, not me — this is what Indrani Mukerjea's statement says, given in the case of riots that took place on the premises following inmate Manjula Shetye's murder.

Giving her side of the story in the case for the first time, Mukerjea said the jail officials threatened to harm the children if the inmates didn't stop their protest. She added that she didn't give any instructions to use the kids as human shields and that, in fact, the police blackmailed all of them to stop creating a ruckus if they cared about the children's safety.

Also read - Did Indrani Mukerjea use kids of other inmates as human shields?

A day after Shetye's death on June 24, the women inmates had protested in the jail, after which the Nagpada police registered an FIR against them, including the Sheena Bora murder accused and gangster Sandeep Gadoli fake encounter accused Divya Pahuja. Jail officials had given a statement that Mukerjea had asked inmates to use their children as human shields.

Indrani Mukerjea and other inmates at the Byculla jail had rioted on June 24 to protest against Manjula Shetye's murder the previous day. FILE PICS
Indrani Mukerjea and other inmates at the Byculla jail had rioted on June 24 to protest against Manjula Shetye's murder the previous day. FILE PICS

Mukerjea reveals
Chairperson of Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights Pravin Ghuge said that as per Mukerjea, Shetye was beaten up by the jail staff, who were allegedly taking turns and were in competition with each other on who could beat her the hardest. She also said that she didn't witness the happenings herself but heard about it all from others, he added. "I saw Manjula's face; it had swollen from all the beating. Hence, after the incident, all the inmates came together the very next day and protested," her statement says.

Also read - Indrani Mukerjea instigated inmates during riot, Byculla Jail officials allegedly told Crime Branch

According to the commission, there are in all 17 children in the jail, in the 0 to 7 (year) age group. Commission officials have spoken to more than 20 women inmates and six jail officials for their versions in the 'children as human shields' allegation.

Ghuge said the commission would submit its report in the incident to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis by next week.

Commissionspeak
As per the rule, inmates having children should be housed in a different barrack, said Ghuge, adding that on the day of the riot the way all the inmates and the children gathered was totally unacceptable. "We are conducting an investigation into the incident and questioning jail officials, because this is a question of children's safety," he said.

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First Published: 20 July, 2017 14:00 IST

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