Mumbai: The four Shakti Mills gangrape convicts, who were awarded life imprisonment on Friday, have been kept in separate isolated high security anda (egg-shaped) cells at Arthur Road Jail.
“We don’t want any trouble and therefore security has been increased in and around their cells,” said a senior jail official. The four—Qasim Shaikh, Saleem Ansari, Vijay Jadhav and Ashfaque Shaikh — are currently lodged in the anda cell in the prison’s eastern side. “There have been cases in the past where rapists were beaten up by other inmates. All four are living alone in separate 10x10-foot andacells.”
For three of them—Qasim, Ansari and Jadhav—Friday was not their last time in a trial court. On Monday, they face a bigger battle, with the prosecution submitting an application seeking the introduction of a new charge under Section 376E of the Indian Penal Code.
If the trio are accepted as repeat rape offenders, the prosecution could then present arguments seeking the death penalty against them. Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said this is the first time since the section’s introduction that such an application has been made. “If the court accepts the application, we might even submit evidence under the charge. We are exploring all options,” Nikam said.
The four rapists have some hardened criminals, terror suspects and suspected killers as their neighbours. Those lodged in these multi-tier security cells are freed for an hour in a day when their cells are unlocked. They roam in the common passage, chat with other suspected criminals but cannot come out of the anda barrack (a barrack houses dozens of cells) like other ordinary suspects who are kept in the general barracks.
The Times of India, March 23, 2014