: Inmates at the Central Jail here began a sit-in on Tuesday demanding their release on bail so that they don't catch the coronavirus infection in the overcrowded prison.
The dharna follows a letter addressed Friday to Chief Justice of India S A Bobde in which the jail inmates argued that their confinement violated the social distancing protocol needed to fight coronavirus.
Jail superintendent Kailash Trivedi confirmed that the protest was on but called it an attempt by the inmates to get out of prison on the pretext of the virus outbreak.
In their letter, the inmates cited Section 144 of the CrPC, which is being invoked at some places to prevent any gathering of more than four people to stop the virus from spreading.
Instead, the jail has too many people crammed in a single barrack, the inmates said.
The letter alleged that the jail did not have adequate medical facilities and the guards could bring in the virus.
The Jodhpur inmates also criticised delays in judicial proceedings.
The inmates had warned in their letter that they would begin a protest if they are not released on bail or parole.
Dismissing the allegations, Jail superintendent Kailash Trivedi said the prison had adequate medical facilities.
Doctors were keeping a close watch on the inmates' health, particularly because of the coronavirus outbreak, he said.
Trivedi said the measures being taken now included screening of every outsider entering the premises, which have been fumigated.
He said the jail had a capacity of 1,475 and the present head count is only 1,350.
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