Raksha Bandhan turned out to be a nightmare for sisters who were visiting their brothers at the Mansa jail to celebrate the festival on Thursday morning. While police claimed to have made proper arrangements, many families alleged that they had to ‘pay’ cops to tie rakhis on their siblings’ wrists. Others alleged that visitors with ‘influence’ even clicked selfies with relatives, though mobile phones are not allowed inside jail premises.
In fact, it seems cops followed a unique ‘plan of action’ of their own. Visitors alleged that they were asked to ‘pay’ so that their duration of visit is extended. Whoever struck a deal with cops was marked on the palm to distinguish them from the others.
People were also asked to purchase food items from the jail-run canteen. “The canteen sells low quality vegetables and fruits at high prices and we were persuaded to buy from them,” said a female visitor from Bathinda.
Many said cops resorted to such practices on special days such as Rakshabandhan to harass visitors.
“Initially, only women were allowed to go inside while men met their relatives in the waiting area. However, men from families with contacts were allowed inside the jail,” said Nachattar Singh, another visitor.
Visitors had to wait for hours in the scorching heat because many were being allowed inside out of turn.
Deputy superintendent of police (prison) Rahul Raj did not comment saying he was busy enough. However, jail superintendent Devinder Singh Randhawa said he will probe the issue as and when a formal complaint was lodged.