‘There was a human finger in my food’

During the meal, an under trial prisoner Fahim vomited and complained that there was a human finger in his food.

Anwer Sumra August 28, 2010

LAHORE: The Kot Lakhpat Jail administration has been providing unhygienic and sub-standard food to the inmates an inquiry conducted by the Home Department has revealed.

The inquiry was ordered after inmates refused to eat Sehri on Friday, an official privy to the inquiry told The Express Tribune.

During the meal, an under trial prisoner Fahim vomited and complained that there was a human finger in his food. Following Fahim’s claim, the inmates got infuriated and protested, saying that they had been served substandard food throughout the year.

During the inquiry, the inmates rejected statements by jail officials who insisted that the prisoner had been mistaken and what he thought was a human finger was a piece of meat.

According to the official, it was then found that the duty doctor had made several complaints in the complaint register regarding prisoners falling ill as a result of unhygienic food.

He had also submitted reports to the IG Prisons pointing out that the beef and chicken served to prisoners by the contractor were substandard.

However, the office did not take any action against the jail administration and the contractor was allowed to continue supplying meat. No warning was issued and no fine was imposed on him.

Serious irregularities were also found in the maintenance of food record during the inquiry, said the official. The report’s findings include damning evidence that jail authorities in addition to some officials in the IG Prison’s office, were getting a cut from the awarded contractor. His contract expires on August 31.

The Home Department report recommended a comprehensive probe be carried out by the Home secretary, investigating the inmates’ claims regarding the provision of substandard and unhygienic food. It was also suggested that the contractor, jail officials and the concerned staff of the IG Prison’s office be made a part of the investigation.

The inquiry also recommended departmental action against the jail administration over the negligence and for benefiting from the contractor providing unhygienic food.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 29th, 2010.

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