Tihar prison, which houses nearly 12,113 inmates despite a sanctioned capacity of around half of it, has around 280 posts of warders and head warders vacant. These people are required to guard wards and cells.
The vacancies have weakened the prison’s capability to keep an effective watch on inmates and pre-empt their illegal activities. “Warders and head warders are tasked to patrol the wards, barracks and the cells. These vacancies need to be addressed urgently,” said a prison source.
The prison’s lack of key resources came into spotlight after Monday when it reported two deaths of undertrial prisoners. Both were reportedly depressed and were found hanging in their cells. “There are nearly 900 posts of warders of which about 250 are lying vacant. Of the 180 posts of head warders, 30 are yet to be filled,” said the source. Around 35 posts of doctors are lying vacant as well, he added.
“Ideally, there should be at least one guard to watch over seven inmates. Right now, we have one guard for 15 inmates,” said the source.
On Thursday, undertrial Reshma (29) was found dead by a matron when her cellmates were away at work. Reshma, who faced kidnapping charges, had reportedly hanged herself from an iron bar of the ventilator in her cell in Tihar’s sub-jail six.
On Monday, gang rape accused Ram Singh was found hanging from a metal grill that worked as a ceiling by a jail warder. His three cellmates were sleeping when the incident took place.