New Delhi, Nov 22 (IANS) Bollywood superstar Sanjay Dutt, who has been behind bars on four occasions in the last 17 years, says 'everything is injustice in jail' due to the prison manual dating to the days of British colonial rule.
The outdated rules and regulations make prisoners 'dehumanized...less like human beings', according to Dutt.
'Everything is injustice in jail. It is (expected to be) a reformatory centre. It's not a place where you turn an innocent man into a criminal but that is what happens in the jails in our country,' Dutt said while speaking at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit here Saturday.
The interactive session was titled 'Leadership Lesson from Munnabhai' after Dutt's iconic character from the hit films 'Munnabhai MBBS' and 'Lage Raho Munna Bhai'.
'The jail manual is 100 years old and it has not been changed till today. That (the manual) was for the British to prosecute the Indians, break our will and treat us like dogs and that has continued.'
The versatile actor also spoke from the heart and narrated his own experiences behind bars.
'I was locked up on Independence Day from noon till seven the next morning despite wanting to celebrate it. The jail manual says that prisoners should be locked up on any holiday.
'When I asked for a spoon with the usual mug and plate that you get there, I was told that there is no such provision in the jail manual. It (the manual) was (meant) to break the Indians down by the British. These things should change now,' he said.
'I couldn't meet my spouse (Manyata - though they were not married then). A person who is convicted can meet his spouse only once a month and that too because mine was a special request I got to meet her alone - unlike others where 20 prisoners meet their families in one room. I could meet my lawyer (Satish Maneshinde) only for a brief moment and that too in my cage and I couldn't talk as I had cops standing all around.'
Manyata, who was also present at the summit, nodded and also shared with the audience her travails.
While in jail, Dutt, true to his image of Munnabhai, a lovable rogue, also took up cudgels on behalf of other inmates.
'I was with some sardars in jail and there was a guy called Pyada Singh. He was there for nine years under trial. He was caught for possession of a firearm for which he had a license. I called his lawyer to my court (during my hearing) and I warned him about going to the press and he got bail. The lawyer was making money all this while,' Dutt recalled amid applause from the audience.
Dutt was convicted for illegally possessing arns in the run-up to the 1993 serial bombings in Mumbai. Soon after the blasts, he was arrested and jailed for 18 months.
Dutt candidly admitted that it was not easy for him to fight on his own at the time of his last imprisonment last year - unlike his previous experiences in prison when he was backed by his late father, actor and MP Sunil Dutt.
'As long as dad was alive, I knew he'll be there for me. But this time, when I went to jail there was no dad and I realized that I was the oldest in the family and I have to work around and thanks to my wife and family, I could,' he observed.