Two undertrials allegedly committed suicide by hanging themselves in the Modern Jail since Monday night. They were identified as Ravi Kumar, 24, a resident of Industrial Area, Kapurthala, and Tarun Kumar, 28, of Bara Pind, Goraya, in Jalandhar district. A magisterial inquiry has been ordered into the two incidents.
The jail authorities said an inmate informed them around 1.30am on Tuesday about the death of Ravi, whose body was found hanging from an exhaust fan in the washroom. Tarun allegedly took the extreme step on Tuesday morning. His body was also found hanging from an exhaust fan in another washroom of the same barracks.
Ravi had been in jail since May 12 on the charge of stealing 25 wheat bags, while Tarun was sent to prison on April 18 in a case under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
After being informed about Ravi’s death, his relatives gathered outside the civil hospital. Alleging foul play, they held a protest against the jail authorities and blocked the road outside the hospital for more than half an hour.
“Everything was fine till Monday evening. I talked to Ravi and he told me to bring his clothes when I come to meet him,” said Nirmala, Ravi’s mother. She alleged that her son died due to the negligence of the jail authorities, while ruling out suicide.
On getting information about the protest by Ravi’s relatives, a police team led by deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Mahinder Singh reached the spot and talked to the protesters.
The jail authorities said the refusal of Ravi’s mother to give him money could have prompted him to commit suicide, adding that Tarun was depressed and addicted to drugs. No one from Tarun’s family had reached the civil hospital till Tuesday evening to claim his body.
Paramjit Singh, superintendent of police (jails), refuted the charge of negligence by the jail authorities. “We have sent both bodies to the civil hospital for a post-mortem, which will be conducted in the presence of a magistrate,” he said.
Paramjit said they had informed district and session judge RS Rai, who had deputed the additional chief judicial magistrate to conduct a magisterial inquiry into the case.
The post-mortem was conducted late in the evening by a team of doctors comprising Dr Mohanpreet Singh, Dr Rajeev Prashar and Dr Jaswinder Singh in the presence of judicial magistrate Balwinder Kumar.
Meanwhile, local MLA Rana Gurjeet Singh on Tuesday expressed sympathies with the bereaved families. Rana said the jail authorities should ensure that such incidents are not repeated.