Taking a serious view of the violence in Gurdaspur Central Jail, chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh has convened a high-level meeting of police and home department officials next week to review the security in the state’s prisons in the light of frequent incidents of violence and clashes in jails.
At the meeting next week, the government will review the report submitted recently by the high-powered committee on jail reforms and initiate measures to improve the prison administration in Punjab.
In a statement issued here, Raveen Thukral, media adviser to the CM, said that Captain Amarinder had ordered the officers concerned to deal with the situation in Gurdaspur jail as they deemed fit and ensure that law and order was restored in the prison without delay.
Expressing concern over the frequent troubles in Punjab’s prisons, the chief minister said he had been in touch with senior police, prison and intelligence officials since the violence erupted in the Gurdaspur prison and the situation was now under control.
Thukral said the chief minister lauded the restraint showed by the staff on duty, who did not cause any injury to any of the inmates even though they were forced to fire in the air to contain the miscreants. He disclosed that cases under relevant sections had been registered against the miscreants for assaulting jail staff, rioting, destruction of government property and violation of jail rules.
Thukral said the chief minister has called for a detailed report on all these cases before the meeting next week.
Gangsters incited violence
In his preliminary report on the Gurdaspur incident, state home secretary NS Kalsi said the incident occurred when a few gangsters, undergoing trial in murder cases, incited inmates of one of the barracks to confront the prison staff after assaulting three jail warders on duty.
“The incident was a reaction to the jails department imposing discipline in jails. Inmates try to get into a power struggle with the staff to resist change,” said DGP, law and order Hardeep Dhillon, who is stationed on the jail premises since last evening.
In his report, the home secretary said the incident was the result of years of neglect of the jail administration, about 50% shortfall in the sanctioned staff, poor administrative structure and lack of equipment in the state’s prisons.
Since 2011, there have been more than a dozen such incidents of rioting and violent clashes in various jails across the state, the report says, listing the incidents.