Alarmed by the rise in attempts to sneak in banned articles like blade and tobacco, the Tihar jail authorities have banned inmates from accepting vegetable curry and fruits from their relatives/visitors.
Jail officials have, over the last few months, detected instances when inmates tried to hide 'small tobacco pouches' or 'blades' inside vegetable curries and fruits, according to a jail source, who is not authorised to speak to the media.
"Vegetable curries are available in jail canteens at reasonable rates, while fruits have been made available there recently as well," said the source. The curries and fruits are usually accepted by inmates from their relatives during meetings held twice a week. At these meetings, the inmates are allowed to accept edibles and meal coupons worth R500.
Confirming the recent directive, Tihar jail's law officer Sunil Gupta told HT, "The ban on vegetable curries and fruits is to stop attempts to smuggle in prohibited articles and substances by inmates."
The prohibited articles include tobacco, sharp weapons, firearms, belts and jeans (whose folds could be used to hide a blade). According to the source, inmates covet a blade inside the jail as it is deemed a 'weapon'.
"A blade is used to settle score with rivals by an inmate or to even threaten inmates who might be less aggressive/violent. Usually, such attempts are made when inmates are taken for court appearances," said the source.
The ban on fruits and vegetable curries was prompted by a recent incident, in which an undertrial attempted to sneak in a surgical blade (size: three-by-two inches) by swallowing it, said another jail source.
The 35-year-old inmate, who is facing several charges related to the Arms Act and narcotics peddling, allegedly procured the blade during his visit to a local hospital after complaining of stomachache.
"An X-ray revealed that he had a metal article deposited in his stomach," said the source.
The inmate was then taken to a local hospital, where doctors administered him laxatives to extricate the blade without surgery. In the past few months, jail authorities have recovered several mobile phone sets hidden in private parts of inmates, sources said.