18 jailbirds serving time in DPO

Ilam, August 23:

Eighteen convicts have been spending their jail terms in the district police office due to the lack of a prison, as Ilam Jail that was devastated by the Maoists one-and-a-half years ago was yet to be rebuilt.

A murder convict, Dhan Kumari Rai, said they had been crammed in a small room for the last six months. Although they were given reading material, the room turns dark at dusk, another jail inmate, Mahendra Subedi, said.

The detention cell has no facilities like those in a jail, deputy superintendent of police at the district police office Buddhi Raj Gurung admitted. They could not be transferred to prisons in Morang and Jhapa as they are holding prisoners far beyond their capacity, said head of the Ilam jail administration Dilli Ram Pokharel. Advocate DN Parajuli said, “The prisoners are forced to stay in a cell that was built for interrogation purposes. The government should come up with an alternate arrangement.” The prisoners were clapped into the custodial cell after attempts to look for a temporary prison failed, said jail administration head Pokharel.

Of the 103 inmates in Ilam Jail, only 62 contacted the administration after the jail was stormed by the Maoists on March 5, 2006. After the attack, all prisoners were released on parole. Some were transferred to jails in Biratnagar and Jhapa.