The Madhya Pradesh government has ordered an inquiry into the escape of eight SIMI members , who were being tried for terror from Bhopal central jail. But will it learn any lessons?
MP has a patchy record of keeping its prisoners behind bars and has had 28 jailbreaks in the past 15 years, the second-most in the country.
Rajasthan has the worst track record, with 55 jailbreaks during the same period, according to data compiled from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
The last sensational jailbreak in MP took place in October 2013, when seven SIMI members escaped from a prison in Khandwa. They were arrested after being on the run for nearly two years.
For three of the eight SIMI members, who got away on Monday, this was their second successful escape from prison. But MP’s track record might be far worse than what the NCRB statistics indicate.
In contrast to the 28 jailbreaks reported to NCRB during 2001-2015, a 2013 performance audit report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) said there were 91 incidents of prisoners escaping from jails during 2007-2012.
Of the 96 prisoners who escaped in these cases, auditors said 57 got away by jumping over the boundary wall, mixing toxic material in tea served to security staff and negligence of security staff.
The CAG also indicted the prison administration for its lackadaisical approach towards securing its jails. For instance, it pointed out that over one-third of 280 wireless sets bought for the jail officials did not work. Neither did 20% of CCTVs.