Inmates of the district jail in Varanasi held the jail superintendent and deputy jailer hostage for six hours following a clash with guards on Saturday after alleging they were being served poor-quality food.
Jail superintendent Ashish Tiwari was held captive in barrack number 14 after a scuffle between officials and the inmates in the morning. The deputy jailer suffered injuries and several guards were also beaten up by the inmates during the fight.
The inmates freed the jail officials after the district administration assured them of looking into the matter.
The inmates also snatched the weapons of the guards and several shots were heard from inside the jail.
“Extremely poor quality of food is served to us. Besides, we often have to face the wrath of jail officials. On Saturday, one of the inmates was badly beaten up as he got a little late to reach to the queue for counting,” an inmate shouted out from inside the jail.
“There is no end to our sufferings. Every day, we have to face it,” he said.
Several inmates were seen roaming freely and some even climbed on to the trees on the jail premises. They also shouted slogans like Jail Administration Murdabad (Down With Jail Administration) and displayed half-baked chapatis.
District magistrate Rajmani Yadav has ordered a magisterial probe into the incident and Tiwari has been relieved from his duty.
The Varanasi district jail has a capacity of 845 inmates but around 1600 inmates are lodged here.
A senior jail official, who doesn’t wish to be named, shared the official menu under which each inmate is served two diets and snacks in the morning. According to the menu, a diet includes 118 gram vegetable per diet, 45 grams of dal, and chapatis made of 250 grams of flour.
As senior officials came to know about the incident, they rushed to the spot along with heavy police force.
“Allegations by inmates are wrong. I have been informed that senior administrative officials along with heavy police force are present in the jail. Situation is under control. But there has been some trouble in the morning,” deputy inspector general of jail (Allahabad region) Santosh Srivastava, who is on his way to Varanasi, said.
Deputy inspector general of police Sanjiv Gupta, district magistrate Rajmani Yadav, senior superintendent of police (SSP) Akash Kulhari and several top officials have reached the jail. Central Reserve Police Force has also been called in.
According to sources, the several rounds were fired in the air to control the situation.
However, the deadlock continued and inmates were shouting slogans till the time of filing this report.