What began as a protest outside the kitchens of Meerut jail on Wednesday morning turned into a virtual riot and a mass attempt to break jail.
The one-hour clash left 159 people – 36 officials and 123 prisoners – injured. The free-for-all involved bullets, bricks and arson with LPG cylinders. The police had to be called in to rescue the jail officials.
This was the fourth jail violence in UP since March and the second during the tenure of prisons minister Raghuraj Pratap Singh.
In Lucknow, Singh claimed only two bullets were fired in air by the jail guards and accused the media of “exaggerating” the event. A magisterial inquiry has been ordered.
Around 9 am, a group of prisoners had gathered outside the kitchen to protest the beating up of a few inmates by guards. When the authorities ignored them, they went berserk.
Getting hold of two LPG cylinders, they set fire to the kitchen and the deputy jailor’s office and opened the barracks to let other inmates out.
The police lathicharged the prisoners and fired several rounds of bullets in air.
Calling the clash an “attempt to break jail”, SSP K Satyanarayan said, “An FIR will be lodged. We are waiting for complaints from the jail authorities.”