A Delhi court judge on Tuesday warned jail authorities of physical inspection after several accused in the February riots case complained of not being provided basic necessities like warm clothes and access to medicines and healthcare facilities, reported PTI.

Expressing his displeasure over the response from the authorities, Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat directed Tihar Jail authorities to improve conditions.

“There has to be an end to this,” Justice Rawat said. “For these small things, the accused cannot run from pillar to post, it makes no sense. I am directing the director general of Tihar Jail to take stock and depute somebody who can take a call, and if things don’t improve, I will go for a physical inspection.”

The court also directed that an officer not below the rank of additional director general of prisons to appear before it on November 23 to address matters flagged by the accused.

‘Basic necessities denied,’ say prisoners

Seven of the 15 accused, who have been charged with Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in relation to the riots, said they have not been given warm clothes, reported PTI. Advocate Mehmood Pracha, appearing for Gulfisha Khatoon, said an application for supply of winter clothes had to be filed since the jail authorities said they will not permit it unless there was a court direction.

When the court allowed the application, advocate Adit Pujari, appearing for Jawharlal Nehru University students Devangana Kalita and Natasha Narwal, requested that the order be extended for all the accused as everyone was facing the same problem.

The counsel for former Congress Councillor Ishrat Jahan, one of the accused, said she had asked to be allowed a pair of slippers from her home as those supplied by the jail authorities were slippery and she was severely injured, but they denied her that too. When her parents went to jail yesterday (Monday) with warm clothes for her, the jail authorities did not permit it, Jahan’s lawyer said. Jahan also sought interim bail for two months, saying she was concerned as several inmates at Mandoli jail have developed Covid-19 symptoms.

Another accused Athar Khan claimed that while two of the inmates have been hospitalised, few have also been isolated after they showed symptoms of Covid-19 and there were no health facilities.

Jamia Millia Islamia student Asif Iqbal Tanha alleged he was facing discrimination from the jail authorities and was not allowed to meet his family members for the past few months.

Another accused Meeran Haider said he was down with fever due to the cold without winter clothes, but he has been unable to put forward his grievances to the prison authorities.