Sajjan Kumar one of the many gardeners at Tihar jail; sleeps on bed measuring 3 by 6 feet

Sajjan Kumar

The Hush Post|9:27 am| two-minute-read|

1984 anti-Sikh riots convict Sajjan Kumar is now one of the many gardeners at Tihar Jail.

Lodged in Tihar Central Prison’s newest complex at Mandoli, Kumar, 73, will be part of the jail’s horticulture wing. Here the convicts are required to do light work, including maintaining the green cover around the largely concrete compounds, plant and water saplings and tend to the available tree cover.

The Delhi High Court on December 17 last awarded life term to Kumar in the matter. Sajjan surrendered three months after his conviction in a case involving five killings during anti-Sikh riots in Delhi Cantonment on November 1 and 2, 1984.

Kumar was jailed starting December 31, 2018. All his attempts to secure bail thereafter have failed, with the apex court agreeing to hear his bail application in August.

Back in Mandoli jail complex, located far away from Tihar prisons complex, Kumar is lodged in ward number 3 with 25 other convicts. Tihar authorities confirmed that Kumar was assigned work after three months of assessing what would suit his profile.

Horticulture is one of the day-to-day tasks prisoners handle on their own; others are cooking, painting, cleaning and light masonry.

Sajjan Kumar wakes up at 6 am when the wards are opened; has tea like other convicts and then does his yoga.

“Sajjan Kumar is trained in yoga and does regular yoga sessions in jail,” a Delhi prisons official said.

Kumar’s usual breakfast is khichdi and vegetable sandwiches sometimes. No eggs are allowed. “Eggs are only allowed on medical advice for lactating mothers and prisoners who are patients of TB, Hepatitis C and HIV,” a jail source said.

The main punishment for Sajjan Kumar and other convicts is jail lock-up, which happens twice daily. “Lock-ups entail deprivation of liberty and are the principal part of a convict’s punishment; the part where a convict has to stay indoors,” said an official.

Sajjan Kumar sleeps on a bed measuring 3 feet by 6 feet. “All convicts above 65 years of age are eligible for cots of prescribed size,” jail sources say, adding that Kumar spends most of his lock-up time reading newspapers.

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