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Social worker opposes traditional tribal prison cells in Nagaland
Published on 17 Jan. 2011 12:02 AM IST
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A social worker of Mokokchung district in Nagaland has opposed the traditional prison cells set up as per tribal norms.
As per their historical traditions and heritage any person punished by the Village Council is interned in dingy small pen-like cells that are set up in the centre of almost every other village.
However, Achi Ao has opposed such a treatment to convicted persons, stated ANI.
He is of the view that although the functioning of the Village Councils and delivering judgement are legally recognised, the manner in which the sentenced persons are forced to undergo confinement is inhuman.
He has now launched a movement to bring about public awareness and ask the government to set up the usual sub-jails to serve a cluster of a score of villages.
"I think that the village council using of this local jails is a part of the customary law. The customary law is normally recognised by the government of Nagaland. So, they are using this or giving punishment to the people putting them into the jail, I won't to say that it is illegal for them also because it has been legalised, it has been recognised by the government," Achi said.
"But, if we see the things that those people go through or put into that gaol, if you see them, they suffer a lot. They can't sit nor sleep; there is no night or day for them," he added.
He further said that the cells are so small that the prisoners can't even sit in them.
"This is like a small jail, where they can't sit properly leaving standing or sleeping, they even sitting is a problem for them. They have to crouch I think or crawl," Achi said. The traditional jails are triangular in shape built and most of these are over three decades old.
They are made of wooden bar that are characterised by being itchy and they are very compact to even accommodate a single person.
Staying in such a cage for some hours is much more painful than days in police custody.
One reason is the pain caused due to scratching oneself and also another is the stigma of being caged like an animal in public view.
The degree of the offence determines the sentence, which can vary from a day to more than six months.

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