Indian activist complains he was not given VVIP treatment in jail

(FMT) – An activist who was recently detained for investigation over comments deemed offensive against the police today said the state of the cell in Penang in which he was placed for almost a day was terrible.

Social activist K Sudhagaran Stanley said he was traumatised by the lack of cleanliness in the cell, including the lack of soap to be used to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

In a statement following his release on police bail from the Pattani Road police station, he said ventilation was bad and the floor was filthy.

Sudhagaran said the police officers who attended to him were kind and professional. They also obliged his request to be placed in a cell on his own.

He said he had to sleep on a plank and had to sleep close to the prison bars to escape the strong stench.

“I was robbed of my dignity. I felt like an animal. Before entering my cell, I was told to strip naked in front of the lockup officer and change into the lockup uniform.

“The toilet in my cell was the open type, with no high walls. There is a CCTV in the cell which can see the ‘business’ being done. The flush was not working, and there was no hose or pail to wash up.

“Next morning, at 6am, I was served plain tea, which was already cold, with two buns.

“For lunch, I had plain rice with a tiny piece of chicken and a thin slice of orange and water in a small plastic bag.

“There was no soap to wash my hands, before or after eating, even at a time when hand washing is encouraged due to Covid-19. This is something that every detainee is facing in the lockup,” he said.

Sudhagaran said he had sent an official complaint to the National Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) of his experience and was conferring with his lawyers on what could be done to “address this episode”.

The 35-year-old activist is with the Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism as its northern region coordinator.

According to Sudhagaran, he was arrested over a statement he wrote titled, “Are we turning into a police state during the MCO period?”, on April 2 on his Facebook page.

In the statement, he had questioned the police’s alleged upper-handedness in enforcing MCO laws.

Sudhagaran is being investigated for making seditious remarks, making statements leading to public mischief and the misuse of internet services.

According to police, the probe is under Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act 1948, Section 505(b) of the Penal Code and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998.

He was arrested at 10pm on Monday, remanded for a day and later let out on police bail.