Several cases of suicide by inmates of the modern jail in Faridkot in the recent past due to alleged depression have raised questions on the conduct of the jail administration.
Has the jail administration failed to run the jail efficiently? Or are the psychiatrists and counsellors of the jail failing to do their job properly? Or is the environment in the jail depressing that leads inmates to commit suicide? Or is there an environment of insecurity inside the jail?
At least four inmates of the jail have committed suicide by hanging themselves from iron grills of the barracks from November 2014 to December 2015.
In the latest case, an undertrial Surjeet Singh, 38, son of Dalip Singh, a resident of Nurpur Hakiman village of Moga district, committed suicide on Wednesday/Thursday night by hanging himself from an iron grill of barrack number 6 in which he was lodged.
Surjeet Singh, who was arrested by Dharmkot police under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, was transferred to the jail on November 22.
“Surjeet committed suicide between 1 am to 2.45 am on Thursday night. His barrack mates said that he was very disturbed about his case and was worried about the outcome of the cases. When he was found hanging, he was not totally above the ground level, his toes were touching the floor,” claimed a source wishing not to be quoted.
“I had learnt from the inmates that he was upset because his bail application was rejected and the sample of the drug seized from his possession was also tested positive,” said Balkar Singh Bhullar, superintendent of the jail.
“As a preventive measure, the jails department has been fitting nets (zalis) on the grills to stop such incidents. We have also provided regular services of counsellors and psychiatrists in the jail. New inmates are specially taken care of,” Bhullar added.
“When such a case takes place, we immediately inform all senior officers of the department besides the human rights commission,” said Bhullar.
‘No special reason behind shifting Surjeet’
“As it is sub jail in Moga, we have to shift inmates to Faridkot or other jails in the state as a routine when we can’t accommodate more inmates in the jail. Surjeet was also shifted as a routine along with many others. There was no particular reason behind his transfer,” said Iqbal Singh Brar, deputy superintendent of the sub jail.
Other cases of suicide
Jassa Singh, 40, a resident of Karial village, Moga district, who was an undertrial in a case of murder, committed suicide on the night of March 3, 2015 by hanging himself from the grill of the jail after tying his neck with a piece of cloth. He was arrested in 2013 and was shifted to the jail in Faridkot in September 2014.
Bachittar Singh, 50, a resident of Kotbhai village of Muktsar, committed suicide in the Faridkot jail on December 3, 2014, by hanging himself. He was arrested by the Muktsar police in May 2014 in a murder case.
Dharam Singh, another undertrial, a resident of village Jaimal Wala of Moga, who was reportedly facing about 5 drug cases, committed suicide by hanging himself from an iron grill in the bathroom of his barrack on September 8, 2014. He was also reportedly mentally disturbed.