- The Washington Times - Monday, April 20, 2009

CALCUTTA, INDIA (AP) - Prisoners in Calcutta’s main prison went on a brief hunger strike in an effort to force authorities to allow them to watch cricket on TV. Nearly 500 of the jail’s 2,000 prisoners skipped lunch and dinner Sunday, demanding to see Indian Premier League matches, Kumaresh Roy, superintendent of the Alipore Central Jail, said Monday

The prisoners’ demand was turned down because “the rules do not allow private television channels inside the prison,” said Banshi Dhar Sharma, a director-general of West Bengal state’s correctional services.

The central jail has about 70 television sets, but shows only the government-owned Doordarshan’s news and entertainment channels. IPL matches are being screened on a privately owned channel.

“They can hear radio and read newspapers, but we cannot flout the rules and allow them to view private channels.” Sharma said.

The highly lucrative IPL, which has taken cricket-mad India by storm and attracted top cricketers from around the world, was moved to South Africa after organizers failed to obtain security clearance for the tournament from the Indian government.

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