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Chaos thy name is B?banki jail

CHAOS PREVAILS at the district prison. And all that Prison Minister Rakesh Verma has been able to do to remedy the situation so far is make announcements.

india Updated: Apr 08, 2006 01:33 IST

CHAOS PREVAILS at the district prison. And all that Prison Minister Rakesh Verma has been able to do to remedy the situation so far is make announcements.

Recovery of prohibited material has become a routine affair. The administration wakes up after every incident. But, their alertness lasts a few days only.

Jailor D K Singh and deputy jailor Dileep Pandey were suspended when a channel showed the activities inside the jail in a sting operation.

Director general, Prisons, is inquiring into the matter. It is not the only stigma on the district jail. An attack on deputy jailor Shivdass in February is also being probed, but there has been no headway so far. Shivdass, who suspected it to be the handiwork of jail inmate Sultan, was transferred.

The latest embarrassment for jail officials is a complaint filed by a prisoner Wali Mohd. He has accused the jail staff of taking Rs 16,000 away from his wife when she visited him. This time, a court has taken a serious note of the matter. An inquiry is pending.

Additional director general, Training, S P Singh Pundeer has visited the prison many times and interrogated many persons.

The gravity of the situation can be gauged from the fact that suspension of four constables led to jail staff coming out in the open and accusing many politicians of using arm-twisting tactics to gain favours. Perhaps afraid of more damaging disclosures, the authorities revoked their suspension.

As the Cabinet Minister for Prisons belongs to the district, it was expected that Barabanki jail would become a model one.

Explaining the reason for lawlessness, a jail official said, “It is hard to take action, you never know who has connections with politicians.”

The jail lacks infrastructure. It houses 1,000 inmates, though it has a capacity of 450. The newly built barracks have not been allotted yet. Paucity of staff is another problem. Two posts of deputy jailors are vacant, and two havildars are yet to be appointed.

A lot is expected from newly appointed jail superintendent Sanjeev Tripathi. Will he muster the courage to strike at the nexus of politicians and criminals?