Ghosts Of Afzal Guru And Maqbool Bhat Terrorize Tihar Inmates
As prisoners claim encountering ghosts and having nightmares, worried officials hold counselling sessions, medical check-ups.
New Delhi: Officials at India’s largest complex of prisons are having sleepless nights these days as they face an unusually difficult challenge -convincing a section of inmates that there are no ghosts in this world! Every day, some Tihar inmates claim encountering spirits, Mail Today has learnt from multiple reliable sources.
“Some say they are slapped for doing something that’s bad. Others feel haunted by late-night wails. When they are able to sleep, they claim to have common, eerie nightmares,” said an official. Worried prison authorities are holding puja, counselling sessions and medical check-ups and supplying religious scriptures to inmates who need to be calmed, sources have said.
“In the morning, some inmates complain of severe headache or nausea, allegedly after a horrifying night. Keeping our personal views aside, we send them for medical check-ups on the premises itself for medicines to be prescribed. At times, when the medical supervisor finds it necessary, inmates are inmates are also sent to the nearby Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital,” said an official.
Tihar anyway runs intensive counseling services with the help of a team of doctors from AIIMS and 60 others from NGO Mental Health Foundation (MHF).
Obviously, nothing abnormal has been captured by CCTV cameras. But rumours and fears get strengthened by the fact that many inmates have committed suicide and some have been killed in scuffles in Tihar over the years. Hangings have also taken place on the premises.
Inmates claim that they have seen the ghost of Maqbool Butt, a Kashmiri separatist who was hanged in 1984. They also say that the ghost of Afzal Guru, another Kashmiri separatist hanged in 2013, haunts them.
“I was lodged inside Jail No. 3 for about 15 months. Then I got bail. When I entered the prison, I heard stories about ghosts. I thought I was being bullied. A few days later, I heard unusual voices at night. However, I didn’t share it with anyone. But days later, I felt as if someone slapped me. That was the day when I decided to raise the issue with authorities,” said a man accused of a triple murder and is now out on bail. “They didn’t believe me and thought that I am making it up,” he said.
An under-trial prisoner lodged in Jail No. 4 in a drugs case has made frequent complaints about being slapped and thrashed by a ghost, an official said. A 29-year-old prisoner has also claimed to be haunted by spirits.
“He told doctors that whenever he is asleep, his blanket is removed by an unknown presence. Items kept in the barrack are thrown around to create noise. He also claimed he hears whispers,” another official said. Sunil Gupta, former law officer, Tihar Prisons, said that many inmates complained that spirits scared them during his tenure. “In one case, an inmate killed a fellow inmate. He said a spirit asked him to do so. Jail No. 3 is most affected as the hanging area is nearby. We provided counselling as such beliefs affect mental health,” he said.
Rajiv Mehta, Chairperson, Department of Psychiatry, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, said high stress levels could be a reason for nightmares and such experiences.
“Those who are not habitual offenders are actually haunted and traumatised by what they have done. As a result, they become a victim of depression and anxiety. Apart from proper counselling, exercise, yoga and meditation can help,” he said.
Tihar PRO Raj Kumar rejected the claims of inmates, calling them rumours.