Asia’s biggest prison, Tihar Jail, witnessed a 100% increase in prisoner deaths in 2013 compared to last year. This figure includes the execution of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.
According to the data provided by the Tihar Jail authorities, 36 prisoners, including Afzal Guru, were confirmed dead in the prison. In 2012, there were 18 deaths, including two suicides, that took place within the jail premises.
One death — the murder of an undertrial — took place in the Ghaziabad Court Complex. Two suicides also took place within the jail campus last year. One was Ram Singh, a convict in the December 16 gang rape case who was found hanging inside his cell in March last year. The other was a female undertrial, Reshma.
Another undertrial named Javed was murdered inside the Tihar Jail last year. According to jail authorities, Javed had sustained a severe head injury during a fight with other inmates over a minor issue.
“Last year, no escape, no riots and no major violation were reported within the jail premises. A total of 35 death cases were reported within the jail premises while an undertrial was shot dead at the Ghaziabad court,” said Vimlaa Mehra, director general (prisons) said at the annual press conference organised at Tihar Jail on Thursday.
According to statistics, 17 jail staff were suspended on complaints against them in 2013. Similarly, departmental inquiries were initiated against 35 ‘corrupt’ jail officials.
“There is zero tolerance when it comes to any kind of corruption and we are trying to maintain transparency in our work,” she said.
Mehra said their mission for 2014 was to curtail the number of undertrials in Tihar jail.
Seven mobile phones were found in inmates’ possession and 18 cases of blade attacks were reported inside the jail last year.
The Tihar Jail is starting an “open prison” with least supervision of inmates from April, Mehra announced. “A proposal for starting an ‘open prison’ and the rules governing it have been approved by Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung,” she said.
In an “open prison”, prisoners are trusted to serve their sentences with minimal supervision and perimeter security without being locked up in prison cells.