Patna jail erupts in inmates’ anger | patna | Hindustan Times
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Patna jail erupts in inmates’ anger

About 400 inmates of Beur Central Jail, irked by ill treatment, take control of the inner wing of the high-security prison for nearly eight hours, report Arun Kumar & Ramashankar.

patna Updated: Dec 19, 2007 03:18 IST
Arun Kumar and Ramashankar

About 400 inmates of Beur Central Jail, many of them Maoists, took control of the inner wing of the high-security prison for nearly eight hours on Tuesday.

Their anger was directed at jail officials, who they said, ill treated inmates and whom they blamed for the suicide of a Maoist on Friday.

The mob ransacked five kitchens and also drove out the prison staff.

The incident took place despite the fact that jails across Bihar are on high alert following a jailbreak in Chhattisgarh in which 298 prisoners escaped two days ago.

Maoists lodged in Beur have been on hunger strike for the last two days after Nagini Manjhi, 40, of the CPI(Maoist), committed suicide on December 14. Around 8 am on Tuesday, 200 of them gathered near the main gate and started shouting slogans against the jail administration.

Other prisoners soon joined them and sat on dharna, not allowing any official into the wing.

When the warders tried to intervene, they were manhandled and the kitchens blocked.

Efforts by jail officials to pacify the inmates went in vain. Security personnel manning the outer ring did not intervene as the prisoners were in greater numbers and were throwing stones.

The situation was brought under control only after IG (prison) Sandip Paundrik, district magistrate B. Rajendra and SSP Kundan Krishnan intervened.

Reinforcements were rushed to the jail. An intensive search was launched in the jail premises.

Maoist leader Ajay Kanu, who masterminded the Jehanabad jailbreak in 2005 in which 300 prisoners escaped, is believed to be the mind behind the inmates’ strike. Kanu has been in Beur since his rearrest after the Jehanabad incident.

There are around 300 Naxalites in Beur jail at present.

According to Paundrik, a judicial inquiry has been ordered into the circumstances leading to Manjhi’s suicide. “If the inquiry reveals laxity on the part of any jail staff, action will be taken against them,” he said.

The Naxalites had not managed to establish control over the jail's inner wing he added.

Paundrik said around 50 additional security personnel have been deployed at Beur to man the outer security ring. “All watchtowers are fully manned.” He said the prisoners were acting out against strict monitoring inside the prison.