Rioting prison inmates in the Gurdaspur central jail fought pitched battles with security forces till wee hours of Saturday, but were thwarted in their attempted jailbreak by heavy tear gas shelling.
Punjab Police’s elite SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) commandos, armed police as well as police personnel from neighbouring Amritsar, Pathankot and Tarn Taran districts were rushed to the Gurdaspur jail to control the violence.
Police sources said on Saturday the situation has been brought under control and a high-level probe is being instituted to find what went wrong in the jail.
The district police have booked 30 inmates for attempt to murder and various other charges. The jail authorities have also shifted 21 inmates, identified as troublemakers, to other prisons in the state.
HOW EVENTS UNFOLDED
Tensions started in the jail on Friday morning after five gangsters attacked two warders. As the inmates went on a rampage, the jail staff had to fire at least 20 rounds of gunfire.
After brief calm, fresh violence erupted after a rumour spread that the jail staff had killed the five inmates responsible for the morning violence. They in fact had been shifted to other jails.
As the agitated inmates set furniture, quilts and other material ablaze, the police kept firing into the air.
Tension escalated when some inmates moved towards the boundary wall on the rear side of the jail and succeeded in breaking a portion of the wall in an attempt to flee. Cops had to resort to heavy tear gas shelling to bring the situation under control.
Sources said some prisoners even recorded the violence on mobile phones.
- Jail capacity: 650 inmates
- Number of inmates: 1,350
- Reasons of violence: Apart from allegations of rude attitude of jail authorities, inmates are also frustrated with intensive checking being carried out to curb drug menace and smuggling of other materials, including mobile phones, into the jail.
- Trigger for jailbreak bid: Rumour that the jail staff had killed five inmates responsible for the morning violence. They, in fact, had been shifted to other jails.
TOP COPS CAMP IN JAIL
Security forces had cordoned off the entire area, and cops were deployed outside the boundary wall to scuttle any attempt of jailbreak.
Police top brass, including director general of police (DGP, law and order) Hardeep Singh Dillon, additional director general of police (ADGP, jails) Rohit Chaudhary, inspector general, border range, Naunihal Singh and Gurdaspur senior superintendent of police (SSP) Bhupinder Singh camped inside the jail till wee hours of Saturday.
Sources said apart from allegations of rude attitude by the jail authorities, the inmates were also frustrated with intensive checking being carried out to curb drug menace and smuggling of other materials, including mobiles, into the jail. The jail, which has a capacity of 650, has 1,350 inmates lodged in it.
The 30 accused inmates have been booked under Sections 307 (attempt to murder), 224 (resistance or obstruction by a person to his lawful apprehension), 186, 332, 353 (obstructing, assaulting, hurting public servant), 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance), 148, 149 (armed rioting, unlawful assembly) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.
(with agency inputs)