IITians sure take their election process seriously. One of the first IIT prisoners, Saif Rahaman, talks to Srishti Jain about being sent to IIT prison on account of ‘illegal campaigning’
Hooting of horns and chanting of slogans, loudspeakers renting the air, lot of fuss and chaos around, wondering whom to vote and support… this is an overview of the setting on the eve of elections at IIT Bombay, where the students are to cast their vote the next day. The Election Day is an important day in every IITian’s life where some of the third year students are to be elected for several significant and influential posts like the General Secretary for Academic Affairs, Hostel Affairs, Cultural Affairs and Sports Affairs, Overall Coordinator for Mood Indigo, etc. The excitement, however, reaches its highest pitch on the day of the elections. And the best part of elections comes, when, in case of impersonation, the guilty ones are actually taken into custody. Yes, if at all you are caught doing any sort of illegal act during the election period you shall actually be taken to a jail specially meant for the students. During elections, the Student Activity Centre, an area meant for extra-curricular activities, is made into a temporary jail where anyone found guilty is taken into custody and detained. Indeed, the most prestigious institute in India has a way to make sure the elections are fiar and not in the influence of any polarising factor.
We caught up with Saif Rahaman, a first year BTech student who was one of the first ones to be put into the jail. He shares with us some of the wrong-doings which can put you in IIT jail and the consequences that follow.
No Campaigning on the Day of Elections
Just like the General elections, we too are not allowed to campaign on the day of elections. But determined to make my desired candidate win, I campaigned in three hostels. The electins started at 2 pm. I was caught in the mess of one of the hostels campaigning and was put into the jail at 2:30 pm itself. I was one the first few ones to be put into jail.
Brought to the Jail by Bus
Once I was arrested, I was brought to the jail in a ‘tum-tum’, a regular mode of transport in IIT.
Time Pass Inside the Jail
Although it’s jail, the atmosphere inside is quite light. We were given food every hour. Pizzas, pastries, patties were served in sufficient quantity. Enough water was also provided to us. We had nothing to do inside the jail, all we could do is discuss and predict who would win. I was doing all sorts of random stuff inside the jail. It was a nice opportunity for us to interact with our seniour. Surprisingly, we were provided beds to rest and I did take it in the evening.
Having stayed for more than six hours in the jail, I was finally let out at 8:30 pm. I was not hungry but was exhausted and simply wanted to go and rest in my room. The voting ended at 11 pm. As I didn’t get a chance to vote while I was in the jail I had to go and vote once I was out.
On entering the Jail I had to surrender my phone. This was done to all the students who were taken into custody so as to cut off their communication with the outside world.
Escaping From the Jail
Many students did try to escape from the rear side of the jail. Some students tried to escape using the pipes that run down the building wall. In an attempt to escape from the bathroom window one of my friends broke his leg. I actually witnessed people doing all sorts of weird things to escape from the jail. I preferred staying inside and hence made no attempts to escape.
Volume 3 Issue 1