[Reader-list] Brutal assault on Sushma Ramtekke, undertrial political prisoner by Byculla District Prison staff and officials

Asit Das asit1917 at gmail.com
Wed Nov 13 04:28:20 CST 2013

*Brutal assault on Sushma Ramtekke, undertrial political prisoner by
Byculla District Prison staff and officials*

Sushma Hemant Ramteke, 30, an undertrial political prisoner currently
lodged in Byculla District Prison was  a victim of a brutal assault by jail
staff and  officers on 8.11.2013. She and four other  co-accused women
including Angela Sontakke, were the five women political prisoners lodged
in Byculla prison since June 2011. They have been victims of brutal
assaults and punishments of solitary confinement for speaking up for their
rights and that of other women prisoners, for quoting the Prison Manual and
for exposing the overall corruption and repressive tactics of the prison
staff against women undertrials.


Sushma Ramtekke was arrested from Pirangut, Pune on 25th April 2011, two
days after the arrest of Angela Sontakke from Thane. She is accused No. 2
along with 6 others arrested at that time in Sessions Case No. 655 of 2011
framed by the ATS accusing them of association with Maoist ideology. Though
nothing was found on her she was charged with having played a part in
setting up a Naxal base in Pune. Since 23 January 2011, she had been
working as a computer operator in an Engineering Equipment company. The
only offence made out by the police is that she shared a rented
accommodation with Angela.

In a landmark judgement dated 3.12.2012,  the Bombay High Court granted her
and another accused bail on the ground that mere association was
insufficient to charge a person with unlawful or terrorist activities. Due
to the difficulties and bureaucratic formalities of procuring bail, it has
taken a year to get Sushma released.  She was on the verge of getting
released, when she became victim of the 8th November assault on her by 10
male and 20 women prison staff and officials armed with batons and sticks.

*The Assaults*

At 10.30-10.45 a.m. on 8.11.2013,  Barrack No. 5, Food distribution or
‘bhattha’ time,  Sushma Ramtekke witnessed woman police constable (WPC)
Kamal Salunke beating up 3 Bengali women (labeled “Bangladeshi”), one of
them pregnant. When Sushma asked why they were being beaten up, Salunkhe
rained blows on Sushma. Sushma tried to defend herself when one more WPC,
Surekha and 2-star Jailor Smita Chorghe, joined Salunke in assaulting
Sushma. Some African women prisoners, Sushura, Julia, Monde, Kay Kay,
Memorigama, Lara, Maria, Diana came to Sushma’s defence and took her near
her barrack. They waited outside their barrack gate waiting to talk to jail
officials, however no one came.

At evening `bhattha’ time at 5 p.m., the other jail inmates from Barrack
No. 5 decided not to take food. Out of about 300 inmates, only those with
children, about 60, took food. Two jail staff, 2-star Jailors Shaila Wagh
and Smita Chorghe, and WPCs Amruta Gaikwad, Supriya Channne threatened
Sushma with dire consequences.

At Bandhi time 6.30 p.m. when the lights were put on, Sushma and other
women prisoners were waiting to talk to jail officials. Senior jailor Uman
Singh Patil, Jailor Bharat Patil and 10 other male jail staff along with 20
WPCs reached outside Barrack No. 5 armed with sticks and lathis.

Sushma Ramteke tried to speak to Jailor Bharat Patil. He told her to come
to his office alone the next day. Sushma, because of previous cases of
women prisoners who went alone being assaulted in the Superintendent’s
office, said she would not come alone. He then told her that he would look
into this the next day. On this Sushma and the other women prisoners
started returning to the barracks. When Sushma and another women prisoner
were climbing the stairs, all male staff, together with WPCs Kamal,
Surekha, Asha, Wasima, Krupali, Deepali, Chaaya and others, crowded at the
stairs. Surekha called Sushma a Naxalite and started abusing her. Sushma
was then dragged down the stairs, pulling at her clothes. She was brutally
assaulted by all the men and women staff gathered there. Two African
prisoners came to her rescue and one of them removed her clothes in
protest, which resulted in the male staff beating a hasty retreat.

On hearing the commotion, the women inside Barrack No 5 started beating
their thalis in protest. The WPCs, led by 2-star Jailor Shaila Wagh, then
led an assault on the women prisoners inside the barrack.

*Action taken so far*

News of the assault reached CPDR only on Sunday, 10.11.2013. CPDR members
Maharukh Adenwala and Susan Abraham visited the jail on 11.11.2013 and
obtained an interview. The above note has been prepared based on the
interview. Even after 3 days, her face was visibly swollen and red bruise
marks were visible on her body. She had not been taken for medical
examination or given any treatment for her injuries.

Sushma’s  lawyers moved an application on 12.11.2013 for producing her in
court and ordering a medical examination immediately as well as for an
enquiry. The Byculla jail administration filed a false complaint in court
on 11.11.2013 with statements of all the women jail staff (but not the male

Further action needs to be taken with NHRC/SHRC, NCW, I G, Prisons as this
is the fourth case of assault by jail staff against women political
prisoners in Byculla prison.


Suresh Rajeshwar, Maharukh Adenwala, Susan Abraham

Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights,


Dated 13th November, 2013

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