The ATS and prison staffers put us through inhumane torture for a long period.
I spent around nine years in jail on false charges of perpetrating the Mumbai train blasts of July 7, 2006. The Maharashtra Anti-terrorism Squad (ATS) arrested me along with 12 others. Since I was charged with participating in the terror attack, I had to face torture and assault from the moment I stepped into Arthur Road Jail.
I was made to undergo all kinds of torture, as they wanted to force a confessional statement out of me.
The ATS and prison staffers put us through inhumane torture for a long period. They would abuse my parents, my family and me. They slapped, kicked and stripped me. They would often cover my face, tie me to a toilet window and leave me standing for hours. The odour of the toilet was unbearable.
I was also hit with a belt for hours on my legs and hands. When I did not succumb to this, the torture got worse. They administered electric shocks on various parts of my body. They would also inject suryaprakash oil, which would create a burning sensation in the body. The purpose behind this was to make me sign the confession letter.
Then Arthur Road Jail Super-intendent Swati Sathe, along with the ATS officers, would pressurise us to turn approvers in the case. Several petitions have been filed against Arthur Road Jail staff, including Sathe. The Bombay High Court took cognisance, and an FIR was lodged against her and others.
It is not only the jail staffers and ATS officials, but even the doctors are complicit. After the Supreme Court decision, following the torture they would take us to KEM municipal hospital within 48 hours, but the doctors would not conduct a medical examination.The purpose of taking any accused to the physician is to check whether the person has been tortured or not. If doctors find anything in their examination, then he or she has to record it. But the doctors didn’t follow the norms. The police would tell the doctors that we were terrorists and they should not check us, as it would be against national interest.
(As told to Prathamesh Mulye)
(Abdul Wahid Shaikh spent around nine years in jail on false charges of perpetrating the Mumbai train blasts of July 7, 2006. He was acquitted by a special Mumbai court from all charges in 2015.)