Authorities of Dibrugarh Central Jail on Friday rejected reports of Waris Punjab De’ Chief Amritpal Singh and his associates being on a hunger strike due to ‘deplorable facilities’ and clarified that the inmates had requested phone facilities, which would now be allowed once a week.
Dibrugarh Deputy Commissioner Biswajit Pegu and SP Shwetank Mishra visited the oldest jail in Northeast India, located in the Dibrugarh district of Upper Assam.
This visit came after a day after Kirandeep Kaur, the wife of Amritpal Singh, claimed that her husband and his associates were on a hunger strike to protest against the “deplorable facilities in the jail.” According to the reports, Kaur learned about their protest during her weekly visit to meet Amritpal on Thursday.
“There is no hunger strike. I have personally met with them. They want access to phone facilities. They will be allowed to make a phone call once a week for 15-20 minutes. There are no complaints about the quality of food. There was only one instance when there was a complaint about the food,” Biswajit Pegu, Deputy Commissioner of Dibrugarh said.
Kaur claimed that the NSA detainees were not given permission to make phone calls and were being served unhygienic food. She also complained that the person in charge of cooking used tobacco, which goes against the Sikh rehat maryada (code of religious conduct).
“The DC has informed us that whatever issues were there, they have been sorted out. The problem with the phones has been resolved, and the food situation is being taken care of,” stated a relative of one of the detainees.
Speaking to reporters, Kaur had said she travels from Amritsar to Dibrugarh jail to meet her husband every week. During her last visit, she said she “learned that all the Sikh prisoners, including Amritpal, are on a hunger strike. One of the reasons behind their strike is that the Punjab government does not allow them to contact their respective families over the phone. If they are given this facility, each family member visiting the jail can save an amount ranging from Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000. Not every family can afford this expense. This facility will also keep them mentally fit.”
On April 23, after being on the run for 35 days, Amritpal Singh was arrested by the Punjab Police from a Gurdwara in Rode village, Moga district. He was sent to Dibrugarh Central Jail in Assam under the NSA.