A 38-year-old woman convict died in Mumbai’s Byculla jail after being brutally thrashed by jail authorities. Manjula Shetye, who was serving life term for murder, was thrashed after she complained to jailors that two eggs and five pieces of pav (bread) were missing from morning ration. Manjula’s death triggered a violent protest in the prison in which 200 inmates including former media honcho and suspect in Sheena Bora murder case Indrani Mukherjea was also booked for rioting.
According to First Information Report available with Hindustan Times, Manjula, who was made warden of of her brracks owing to her goood behaviour, found that the rations fell short by two eggs and five pieces of pav (bread) and complained to the jail authorities. She was called to the jail officer Manisha Pokharkar’s private room. The witness told investifgating officers that she heard Manjula scream in pain. Manjula came back to the barrack in a while and was visibly in pain.
Soon, a group of jailors came to the barracks and assaulted Manjula once again. The witness said Manjula was stripped by women constables she identified as Bindu Naikade, Waseema Shaikh, Shital Shegaonkar, Surekha Gulve and Aarti Shingne. The witness said Bindu and Surekha then held Manjula’s legs apart and Waseema inserted the lathi into her private parts. She was left bleeding in barrack and no one help was offered to the jail authorities. It was only after she lost consciousness, she was taken to JJ hospital where she breathed her last.Manjula’s biopsy report stated that had about 11 to 13 contusions all over her body. The dean of JJ hospital, TP Lahane, said the woman’s lungs were damaged. Based on witness’ statement, an FIR accusing the five constables and the jail officer of murder was filed at Nagpada police station.Meanwhile, One jail official and five guards have been suspended after the incident. After her death, situation on the jail premises went out of hand as other inmates started destroying property in protest. Some climbed on the roof of the jail.
Majula was serving life imprisonment for murdering her sister-in-law Vidya Shetye. Her mother Godavari was also convicted in the case but had died. On January 4, 1996, Manjula poured kerosene over Vidya, while Godavari pushed Vidya towards a burning stove. This resulted in 100 per cent burns to Vidya who succumbed to her burns on January 8, 1996. Vidya’s dying declaration had seen a sessions court convict Manjula and Godavari, which was later upheld by the Bombay High Court on October 8, 2009.