Why Indrani Mukerji and others were instigated to riot after inmate's death

Jun 27, 2017, 14:28 IST | mid-day online correspondent

The death of fellow inmate Manjula Shetye at Byculla jail is believed to be the trigger behind Indrani Mukerjea and 200 inmates apparently rioting. Here's what actually took place

Indrani Mukerjea
Indrani Mukerjea

A recent news report about Indrani Mukerjea, the main accused in the Sheena Bora murder case, was accused of rioting in prison. Apparently, her tirade against jail officials was instigated after her fellow jail-mate Manjula Shetye was beaten to death by the jailer and five others.

Manjula Shetye, was brutally beaten up for complaining when two eggs and five pieces of bread were missing from her barrack's morning ration sanction. As per a report by Hindustan Times, the report that contained the statement of the eye witness details the inhuman behaviour of the jailors, six of whom have been booked for murder.

The prisoner’s death triggered violent protests by the inmates, one of whom was Indrani Mukherjea. The First Information Report states that the trouble started at around 9am on July 23rd, when Manjula found that the rations fell short by two eggs and five pieces of bread. Appointed as the warden for her barracks due to good behaviour, Manjula was called to the jail officer Manisha Pokharkar’s private room where she was beaten ruthlessly and as per an eye witness, the other inmates could hear her scream in pain. As per the eye witness account, Manjula returned to her barracks after the encounter, in visible pain.

Also read - Mumbai: Indrani Mukerjea, 200 inmates booked for allegedly rioting in Byculla Jail

It is believed that a group of jailors came back a little while later and proceeded to assault her again. As per another eyewitness, some of the lady constables (identified as Bindu Naikade, Waseema Shaikh, Shital Shegaonkar, Surekha Gulve and Aarti Shingne) stripped Manjula of her clothes and held her legs open, after which constable Waseema inserted the lathi into her private parts.

Manjula was then left bleeding in the Barracks, and denied medical attention. It was only after Manjula became unconscious in he bathroom was she rushed to JJ hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries.

Also read - Mumbai: Women prisoners vandalise Byculla jail after death of fellow inmate, injure six staffers

In her post-mortem report, the dean of JJ hospital, TP Lahane, said that Manjula had 11-13 contusions all over her body and her lungs were damaged. The police have started an investigation, and based on the eyewitnesses’ statements an FIR has been lodged against the five constables and a jail officer, at the Nagpada police station.

Manjula’s elder brother Sharad Shetye a Kalyan resident had told the national daily, "She was taken to the hospital on Friday around 7.30 pm and we were informed only at 7 am on Saturday when two constables from Manpada police station came to inform us. I want to know why it took them beyond one hour to inform me about my sister’s death."

Manjula was serving a life imprisonment sentence and was due to be released in six months.

Manjula was serving life imprisonment for murdering her sister-in-law Vidya Shetye. Her mother Godavari Shetye too had been convicted but had died. On January 4, 1996, Manjula poured kerosene over Vidya, while Godavari pushed Vidya towards a burning stove. This caused 100 per cent burns to Vidya who died on January 8, 1996. Vidya’s dying declaration had seen a sessions court convict Manjula and Godavari, which was later upheld by the Bombay High Court on October 8, 2009.

Since her conviction, Manjula was lodged at Yerwada jail, and was moved to Byculla prison about three months back.

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