Eight inmates of the Central Jail here were injured when two groups clashed inside the jail here on Thursday morning while blaming each other for the alleged use of drugs and mobile phones in the jail. The clash has again brought to the fore the issue of the drugs supply in jails in Punjab.
The tussle between the two groups – one led by notorious Rajiv Raja and another by murder convict Amandeep Singh – that started on Wednesday evening, took a violent turn in the morning with members of the groups attacking one another with sharp-edged weapons and bricks.
Amandeep Singh, a resident of Lambi, admitted to the civil hospital here, alleged that Raja was using a mobile phone and drugs inside the jail and he had objected to it. Angered by this, Raja, along with his accomplices, beat him un on Wednesday evening, he said.
“Instead of acting against Raja and his accomplices, jail authorities locked me in a separate cell during the night. But, in the morning again, Raja, along with his about 30 accomplices, attacked me while I was going for my routine work at about 9 am. Attackers used bricks and sharp-edged weapons in the attack,” he alleged.
He said when his fellow inmates Varinder Singh, convicted in the same case along with him and Banta Singh from Pakan village in Fazilka district, intervened they were also attacked and were also injured.
He claimed that a large number of inmates, who supported him, observed a strike and didn’t take the morning meal as a mark of protest. He said he had also filed a petition in the Punjab and Haryana high court against the jail authorities for not granting him parole. He alleged that the authorities had orchestrated the attack on him.
On the other hand, Raja, who along with his four other inmates, was brought to the hospital, alleged that Amandeep was involved in the smuggling of drugs in the jail and he, along with his fellow inmates, had raised objections against it.
Raja, along with inmates Ranjit Singh Rana from Baja Khana in Faridkot district, Gurjit Singh from Moga, Ranjodh Singh from Kotha Guru in Bathinda and Balkar Singh from Malout, was also brought to the hospital with injuries.
Raja is facing cases of murder and attempt to murder in Ludhiana. In a daring act, he was set free from police custody by his accomplices by attacking a police party while he was being taken to Patiala for hearing in case on March 10. He was later arrested by the Patiala police.
Meanwhile, jail superintendent Rajwinder Singh Dhaliwal denied the allegations of use of drugs and mobile phones and said that the clash was purely a battle of supremacy between two groups in the jail and now both were making excuses to justify themselves. He also denied the use of sharp-edged weapons in the quarrel.
SDM Damanjeet Singh Mann, who inquired into the matter, said that bricks were lying scattered at the site of the incident when he visited the jail.
“Besides charges of use of drugs and mobiles, it has also emerged that Amandeep was granted bail by the high court a few days ago and some formalities have been left for him to come out of the jail. So the clash might have erupted due to some altercation over some issue before his coming out of the jail,” he said.