Monday's violent clash between the jain inmates and the staff is perhaps only a pointer to the deplorable conditions inside the jail. If the prisoners levelled corruption charges against the jail officials before the media, their apparently dazed condition pointed to the availabilty of drugs in the state.
Sources said that that majority of the prisoners, under trials or convicts, take drugs and are ready to pay any price to get their daily dose.
People lodged up in cases under NDPS (Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances) and convicts lure other criminals towards drugs. There is no counselling or rehabilitation programme for addicts.
Jail officials said that whenever required they send the addicts to Kapurthala for de-addiction. As for easy availability of drugs within the premises, jail superintendent BS Gill said that mischievous persons sometimes used adjoining buildings to throw packets in the compound, but patrolling had been intensified. "We have increased patrolling along the walls," said Gill.
He denied any involvement of jail staff in making drugs available to the users, but it is common knowledge that without their support, nothing could sneak in.
Sources reveal that drugs reached inside the jail premises through several means. "The authorities would sometime plot a drug recovery to show the media their seriousness in tackling the menace whereas it is only an eyewash," said sources, claiming that undertrials who went on a rampage on Monday were probabaly drug-addicts. Sources said that if the prisoners are ready to pay the price, they can be provided anything.
Recently a 'cultural night' was reportedly organised in the jail for the inmates out of the fund collected from them. Dancers were called from another station to entertain the 'guests'.
Gill denied knowledge of such an event stating that it could have been before his appointment. Deputy superintendent Lalit Kohli, however, confirmed it but said that the since transferred superintendent BS Beesla had arranged it. He could not tell if the event was organized with permission from his bosses, nor who funded it.
Inspector general (prisons) Jagjit Singh who visited the jail on Tuesday avoided reporters for obvious reasons. The jail lacks adequate accommodation and other facilities.
Against a sanctioned strength of 478, 955 prisoners are lodged here.
There is only one barrack for women with a capacity of 20, but presently it is accommodating 67. There is also shortage of jail staff. Twelve posts of wardens and four posts of head wardens are vacant. Three of the towers are manned by home-guard jawans and three by PAP personnel.
The jail is named 'Sudhar Ghar' but there is hardly any programme to bring about a 'sudhar' (reformation), Officials of the jail department and local judicial and civil officers frequently visit the prison but instead of highlighting the inadequacies and working towards their removal, try to keep a lid on the same.