No translators, so no letters for jailed A’bad blasts accused

GLetters from kin of the accused landed in the jail four months ago.

Four months after they received six letters from the relatives of the accused in the 2008 Ahmedabad serial blasts case, Sabarmati Central Jail authorities are yet to hand these over to their intended recipients. The reason: They are in languages for which they do not have translators.

These letters are written in Urdu, Malayalam and Hindi!

The matter came to light when four of the six inmates filed a complaint to the special designated court, which on Friday ordered the Sabarmati Central Jail authorities to send these letters for translation to the Ahmedabad Municipal School Board.

The accused have said in their complaint they got letters from their native places in March this year, but the jail authorities have not handed these over to them so far.

According to case details, the jail authorities first sent these letters to Ahmedabad Police Commissioner's office for translation, saying they did not have linguists who could translate Urdu or Malayalam into Gujarati language. They said that as per the provisions of jail manual, every correspondence with inmates by their relatives had to be scanned for security purposes.

One of the letters in Malayalam belongs to Shibli Abdul Karim, an alleged member of Indian Mujahideen (IM). One of the Urdu letters is addressed to Mohammad Ali, an alleged SIMI member who hails from Madhya Pradesh. Both Karim and Ali are among the 14 of the serial blasts accused who have been also named as prime accused in the Sabarmati jailbreak attempt case of February this year.

Inspector General of Police (Prisons) P C Thakur said since the undertrials lodged in the jail were facing terror charges, the police commissioner's office was asked to get the letters translated.

Asked why even Hindi letters were not delivered, he said, "As part of security precautions, all letters have to be translated into Gujarati and are delivered to inmates only if they are found to contain harmless content."

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