Shillong prison staffers on strike

Shillong: Prisons staffers in this mountainous state capital of Meghalaya went on strike Saturday, accusing prisons chief Kulbir Krishan of high-handedness.

Krishan, however, rubbished the allegations and said the protest by his staffers was because they feared disciplinary action against the illegal activities in running the prison administration.

"Some of the jail staff are hand-in-glove with the prisoners running a parallel administration, while some of them are involved in financial irregularities which we have unearthed," Krishan told journalists.

In fact, the government has suspended the Superintendent of the Shillong jail, James Marbaniang for financial irregularities in the prison account, while jailor Felicita Wahlang was transferred to Tura district jail after she was accused of having received a "large sum of money" from Sujit Dey, the defence counsel of arrested Champion Sangma, the supremo of the outlawed Garo National Liberation Army.

IANS was unable to reach Dey or the jail officials for their comments.

Moreover, other prison staff were also "caught" being involved in financial irregularities and they have given confessional statements and an internal inquiry is on, the Prisons Chief said.

"They feared that action would be initiated against them for being involved in financial irregularities and indulging in illegal activities in the jail. Some of them (jail staff) have tried to instigate the prisoners but when they failed, they instigated other staffers to strike," Krishan added.

However, the agitating jail staff said that it has been difficult for them to air their grievances to the higher-ups because of their indifference.

"We are not at all happy with the style of functioning of Krishan. He has been exploiting us for his own personal interest and he is torturing us like we ourselves are prisoners," said Michael Dympep, an agitating employee.

"Some of the jail wardens aren't allowed inside the high security prison, where Champion is lodged, but what amazed us is that the Prisons Chief gives free access to one Rotash Kumar, who claimed to be a deputy superintendent of police from Haryana," Dympep added.

Meanwhile, the agitating jail staffers said that they would withdraw their protest only after Krishan's removal.