Packed to double its capacity, Asia’s largest prison — Tihar Jail — is a dangerous place for criminals awaiting justice, as they often fell victim to blade attacks and stabbing.
A panel of judges from the Delhi High Court, which assessed the security inside the prison,
painted a grim picture in which helpless prison authorities have a little control over and sometimes complicit in the smuggling in of sharp-edged weapons.
The panel audited the security at the Tihar Jail in January on the order of the court after an NGO filed a PIL.
The report says that blade attacks and stabbings take place not just inside the prison but also in vans in which the inmates are transported to the court.
The security at Tihar has come under renewed attack after the alleged suicide by the prime accused in the Delhi gang rape case, Ram Singh, on Monday.
“Such incidents happen due to inadequate safeguard at the time of production of accused persons in court. They procure blades, scissors and other sharp-edged articles from their relatives and friends who visit them in the court and jail,” said the report.
It was filed by one of the four additional session judges, after the survey of the jail in January this year.
It said inmates often smuggle blades inside their cells by hiding them inside their mouth. The judges sought strict monitoring of the inmates from the moment they are taken out of jail to be produced in the court and till they return to their cells.
The court had ordered the survey in November last year following allegations of severe law and order crisis and torture of inmates in a PIL filed by NGO Multi Action Research Group.
“The PIL carried complaints by nine inmates of torture and severe beating by Tihar officials and demanded a judicial probe,” NGO’s lawyer Ritu Kumar said.
“If the allegations made in these complaints are correct, these are quite serious. We are, therefore, of the opinion that these allegations are required to be looked into by the authorities concerned,” the court had said while ordering an inquiry.
However, the panel of judges after probing into complaints of torture of inmates by officials, found that most of it were incidents of “mild beatings” by officials to control fights between prisoners and did not amount to torture.
The report said the most common problem faced by the prisoners was that officials do not transfer their medical records when they are transferred on security grounds from one cell to another.
As a result many inmates could not avail the facilities which they are entitled from jail administration in absence of old health records.
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