Security has been tightened at the Kapurthala jail in the wake of the Nabha jailbreak on Sunday in which six high-prison security prisoners, including Khalistan Liberation Front chief Harminder Singh alias Mintoo and his aide, escaped in a daring move that left police red-faced.
However, in the absence of latest weapons, machinery and adequate staff, the Kapurthala modern jail authorities are on their toes keeping a tab on prisoners. The Kapurthala jail is not just overcrowded, but is also facing a staff crunch and only has old weapons.
Sources in the jail said security staff was using old technology three-nut-three-rifles, which needed reloading after every round. But the staff was still waiting to get their hands on automatic weapons.
Even jail authorities have requested the state government a number of times, said a senior jail officer.
Moreover, there are about 280 staff members against 330 sanctioned posts of the prison department, of which most of the staff are of Punjab Police. Officials claimed that they needed an additional 150 security staff here. Sources said even after upgrading the jail to 80 acres of land from four acres, the state government has not increased the sanctioned posts for better security.
Jail superintendent Ravinder Singh Thiara admitted that there was a need for new weapons and a staff crunch. He said, “Yes, staff shortage is a problem in jails across the state. But the state government is planning to fill the vacant posts.”
He added, “We have requested the state government for new weapons including short handguns, rifles, and automatic weapons as most of our weapons are old and soon need to be replaced,” he added.
Use of mobiles goes unchecked
About 60 mobiles were recovered by the authorities inside jail premises this year, while 20 were recovered in the last two months by jail staff.
Records state that police did not recover any phone in 2012, but the figures were on a rise as since then 48 mobiles were recovered in 2013, 70 in 2014 and 75 in 2015. Sources said in many cases, the cops do not register such cases and they remain unreported. Otherwise, the figures could be higher than what is shown in the data.
Though easy availability of mobiles in jail has raised a finger over the functioning of the staff, officials alleged that it was due to the shortage of staff and lack of modern equipment that infiltration went unchecked.
Sources said the jail has 88 wardens and 25 head wardens, against the sanctioned posts of 190 and 50. A lackadaisical attitude ensures that even after the continuous seizure of phones, the state government has failed to install mobile jammers.