The Tihar Jail authorities have decided to discard the over 50-year-old practice of stamping a semi permanent ink seal on visitors' hands because of security reasons.
The visitors will now instead need to sport an identity card that will have a computer-generated Tihar Jail seal. It will also contain details such as a number, name and address of the visitor with the nature of work. The card will have to be returned to security personnel during exit.
"The stamping of the Tihar jail seal on my hand during my visits did leave me a bit uneasy," said Ramesh Kumar, who visits a sub-jail for work around four times a week as his NGO is engaged in teaching vocation skills to Tihar inmates as part jail authorities' public-private initiative for their reformation.
Confirming the discard in the old practice of imprinting the jail seal, prison spokesperson Sunil Gupta said, "We have replaced the jail ink seal with identity cards for visitors going inside the sub-jails for security reasons."
He added, "In comparison to the seals, the identity cards can ensure separation of visitors from inmates and prevent the possibility of the latter posing as an outsider to escape."
Gupta said, "Besides, the jail seal was deemed as archaic and a little embarrassing, according to complaints by the visitors."
On an average, each of the prison complex's 10 sub-jails get up to 100 visitors daily who are usually individuals associated with NGOs, lawyers working with legal aid cells and suppliers of inmates' food and raw materials for jail factories employing convicts.