Many believe that India is a safe haven for Nepali Maoists, but several rebel leaders in Indian custody may beg to differ. A report prepared by 'Nakul', who claims to be a Maoist 'war correspondent', states that the Maoist leaders arrested in Patna are subjected to torture and treated as if they were local goons.
About a month and a half ago, 11 Nepali Maoist leaders were arrested in Patna. Among those caught in hotels, cyber caf?s and telephone booths were Kul Prasad KC, Lokendra Bista, Kumar Dahal, Hit Bahadur Tamang and Anil Sharma. In addition to official party business, several of these Maoists were also in India for health check ups and treatment for high blood pressure, diabetes and ulcers. However, going to India has proved to be a serious health hazard instead.
After their arrest, the Maoists were kept in a local police station for 15 days, and then transferred to jail. According to the report, most of the Maoist leaders have been affected physically in one way or another due to mistreatment and torture. One of the leaders has suffered back injuries, and also has an arm so severely bruised and blistered that he can't move it. Lokendra Bista is having problems urinating, while one of Kumar Dahal's eyes has been seriously damaged. Hit Bahadur Tamang is said to have lost his hearing during severe beatings. Police also crushed Maoist leader Anil Sharma's fingers, reminding him that he used to work for a Maoist publication. A female Maoist who was arrested at the same time is being held at a separate jail, and is also suffering from physical illness.
The report also claims the Maoist leaders are not getting enough food. According to jail regulations, they should be getting the Indian equivalent of Rs 91 for each meal. But due to corruption within the jail administration, they only get about a fifth of that amount-not enough for a decent meal.
The prisoners have registered a case in the Patna civil court demanding that they be treated as political prisoners. According to Sachitananda Prabhat, in-charge of the All India People's Resistance Forum, Jharkhand, the jail administration's treatment of the Nepali Maoists has been inhumane. However Prabhat, himself a prisoner, cautions: "If anyone protests against such treatment, he/she has to suffer from worse torture and is threatened with death." He said an inmate called Sunil Singh was killed under similar circumstances. Prabhat added, "Because they had protested the way they were treated, central members of People War Group Abhindra Kumar and regional leader of the group Ravindra were transferred to Bhagalpur jail."
Prabhat and his organisation launched a movement in the jail to help the Nepali Maoist leaders. The forum's Bihar member, Roshan Kumar Yadav, said that the jail administration's mistreatment of Nepali Maoists is worse than what American soldiers did to the Iraqi prisoners. He added, "I am surprised that international human rights groups are silent over the issue."
Top Maoist leaders captured in Patna being transported to their jail cells last month. One of them shows a welt in his arm.