What goes on inside Tihar Jail, home to some of India’s most storied prisoners?
Black Warrant: Confessions of a Tihar Jailor is an account of Sunil Gupta’s time running Delhi’s Tihar Jail and his encounters with such (in)famous inmates as Billa Ranga, Afzal Guru, Rajan Pillai, Maqbool Butt, Subrata Roy, and Manu Sharma. Each chapter is a revelation about this country’s judicial and prison systems.
In this edition of NL Interviews, Abhinandan Sekhri speaks with Sunil and the journalist Sunetra Choudhury, who co-authored the book.
Sunil speaks about Charles Sobhraj’s escape, the police-prisoner dynamics, police brutality, custodial deaths, and corruption in Tihar Jail. Sunetra talks about her experience writing the book and her contribution to it: giving the readers an “overall perspective” of what goes on inside the jail, confirming the information she was given from official accounts.
The interview further delves into Sunil’s account of the hanging of the Kashmiri rebel leader Maqbool Bhat and the Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. While on the topic, Abhinandan asks Sunil, “Do you fear backlash from the nationalistic right on this? Would that make you reconsider your position on reform?”