Mukhtar denied food, water during Punjab-UP transfer, alleges brother; govt says no health issues

·5-min read
MOHALI, INDIA - MARCH 31: Accused Mukhtar Ansari produced in Mohali District Court by Punjab Police, on March 31, 2021 in Mohali, India. Mukhtar Ansari was produced in a Mohali Court in a case related to extortion and criminal intimidation. The gangster-turned-politician was brought from Ropar jail and waited for some time in an ambulance bearing a UP registration with police escorting the vehicle. (Photo by Keshav Singh/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
MOHALI, INDIA - MARCH 31: Accused Mukhtar Ansari produced in Mohali District Court by Punjab Police, on March 31, 2021 in Mohali, India. Mukhtar Ansari was produced in a Mohali Court in a case related to extortion and criminal intimidation. The gangster-turned-politician was brought from Ropar jail and waited for some time in an ambulance bearing a UP registration with police escorting the vehicle. (Photo by Keshav Singh/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Lucknow/Ballia (UP), Apr 7 (PTI) Mukhtar Ansari's brother alleged on Wednesday that inhuman treatment was given to the gangster-turned-politician while being transferred to Banda jail from Punjab, saying it would have been better had he been just shot dead at a road crossing.

 The Uttar Pradesh government, however, said a team of doctors of the Banda Medical College examined Mukhtar Ansari at the jail and found no 'immediate' health issues.

 'Inhuman treatment was meted to Mukhtar while being shifted from Punjab to Banda jail. In the over 15-hour journey, he was not given water and food and was also denied medical aid,' Afzal Ansari, the BSP MP from Ghazipur, told PTI.

 'Due to this, he became unwell and reached Banda jail in a semi-unconscious state,' he added.

 Afzal Ansari, however, did not elaborate how he got to know about the alleged treatment meted out to his brother during his transfer from Punjab's Rupnagar jail.

 'The Yogi Adityanath government has left Britishers behind with such acts. Contrary to the jail manual, Mukhtar has been kept in an isolation barrack. Those who have to protect laws are creating terror. It would have been better that he was made to stand at some road crossing and shot dead,' he said.

 Mukhtar Ansari faces trial in several cases including murder and attempt to murder in UP.

 The Uttar Pradesh government said in a statement, 'Undertrial Ansari was brought from Punjab's Ropar jail at about 4.50 am to Banda prison gate by a special team and he finally got entry at 5 am'.

 'All his belongings were checked and no objectionable items were found. A team of Banda Medical college doctors did his check-up and found no immediate health issues,' it said.

 'Mukhtar Ansari would be tested for COVID-19 later in the day inside the jail. According to the Supreme Court orders, with the help of district administration and Chief Medical officer, Banda, his health arrangements are being ensured,' the statement added.

 ADG, Prison, Anand Kumar has given strict instructions for round-the-clock security of Mukhtar Ansari, who is also Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLA from Mau.

 Elaborate arrangements have been made inside the prison, where he will be kept in barrack number 16, which will be under 24-hour camera surveillance, the statement said. According to it, the entire Banda jail is covered with CCTV cameras and is being monitored by senior officers from jail headquarter command centre in Lucknow.

 For outer security of the jail, additional force of PAC has been deployed and Banda city magistrate has been made incharge jail superintendent for administrative and security arrangements, it said.

 Two new deputy jailors have been deputed and additional head jail warder and jail warder have been made available to the prison, the government statement said.

 Afzal Ansari also claimed that the blood-sugar level and blood pressure of Mukhtar Ansari, who has diabetes, have increased and alleged that the jail administration is not accepting the request to provide him a doctor.

 'Instead of treating him, he was being administered injection to put him to sleep,' Afzal Ansari alleged. He further claimed that his brother was kept in the ambulance for over one-and-half-hours even after reaching the Banda jail.

 'At around 9 am, some persons known to Mukhtar reached the jail to meet him but were returned from the prison premises. Mukhtar is an undertrial and despite this he is getting treatment like a convict,' he said, adding 'such a treatment was never given to any undertrial in the history of the country'.

 Minister of state for Parliamentary Affairs Anand Swarup Shukla said Mukhtar Ansari will be provided security inside the jail and nothing like what happened to Munna Bajrangi will take place, he said, referring to murder of a gangster in a UP jail three years ago.

 Prem Prakash Singh (51) alias Munna Bajrangi was shifted to Baghpat jail on Jul 8 2018 and was allegedly killed there by another gangster Sunil Rathi.

 'He will get punishment by the court. We will give security to witnesses also. The government will ensure trial in all the cases against him. If he deserves capital punishment as per charges, police will ensure that during trial,' Shukla said. The minister claimed that Mukhtar Ansari will be convicted and so will not be able to contest elections again.

 After spending over two years in a Punjab prison, Mukhtar Ansari was brought back to Banda jail in the early hours of Wednesday. He was ferried in an ambulance guarded by a strong posse of gun-toting security personnel throughout his 900-km journey from Rupnagar to the Uttar Pradesh town in the Bundelkhand region.

 Mukhtar Ansari was lodged in Rupnagar jail in January 2019 in connection with an extortion case.

 Acting on a Supreme Court order, the Uttar Pradesh Police took his custody at Rupnagar jail on Tuesday to bring him back to the Banda prison. He is facing 52 cases in Uttar Pradesh and elsewhere, and 15 of them are in the trial stage. PTI ABN/COR CK