They were tasked to guard hundreds of gangsters and terrorists with rickety Lee Enfield rifles, but Tihar jail’s securitymen will finally get their weapon of choice.
The warders, as they are known within the jail, will soon be armed with the INSAS (Indian National Small Arms System) automatic assault rifle.
The jail administration recently placed orders for 100 INSAS assault rifles, which are standard infantry issue of the Indian armed forces, to arm its warders who are expected to secure the 10 sub-jails and the inner perimeter. The move will beef up the jail’s capability to thwart potential terror attacks or jailbreaks.
It’s a timely move. Though the jail had around “172 high security prisoners” till last year, the number stands at “around 250” now, said the jail’s chief and director-general (prisons) BK Gupta.
The jail’s rogues’ gallery includes Parliament attack accused Afzal Guru, Harkat-ul-Jehad-e-Islami (HuJI)’s top operative Jalaluddin alias Babu Bhai, and Red Fort attack case accused Mohammed Ashfaque. Mumbai’s underworld gangster Fazalu Rehman is among the inmates too.
“If terrorists can attack our Parliament, why won’t they target our jail? The INSAS will give teeth to the jail warders,” Gupta said. Besides, the jail premises would soon get equipped with “four additional mobile jammers by this March and 200 additional CCTV cameras by December”, he said.