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Two probe teams to find out how ‘unauthorised pillow’ led to scuffle in Tihar jail

The incident took place on November 21 night in which some inmates clashed with the personnel of the Tamil Nadu special force, which guards the high-risk security wards of the jail.

delhi Updated: Dec 01, 2017 13:00 IST
Azaan Javaid
Azaan Javaid
Hindustan Times
Tihar jail,Scuffle in Tihar,Syed Salahuddin’s son
Jail authorities sent a detailed report about the fight to the Union home ministry (MHA) on Wednesday. (HT FILE)

An “unauthorised pillow” seems to have triggered a scuffle between inmates of Delhi’s Tihar jail and prison authorities in which 18 prisoners, including Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin’s son, were injured.

The incident took place on November 21 night in which some inmates clashed with the personnel of the Tamil Nadu special force, which guards the high-risk security wards of the jail.

Jail authorities sent a detailed report to the Union home ministry (MHA) on Wednesday. According to MHA, a fact-finding team, headed by a district judge rank officer, has been constituted to investigate the incident and another committee, led by Tamil Nadu special force commandant, will probe lapses on part of the force’s personnel.

The development comes after Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti raised the issue with Union home secretary Rajiv Gauba earlier this week. The incident had come to light after an application was filed in a city court by advocate MS Khan on behalf of some of the prisoners, alleging that 26 of them were beaten up by the jail staff unprovoked.

A senior government official said on the night of November 21, Tamil Nadu special force or TSP, personnel decided to conduct a “routine search” in the high risk ward. One of the prisoners was found to be in possession of a pillow, which, according to the official was jail property. TSP sub-inspector Muthu Pandee attempted to confiscate the pillow, following which a batch of three prisoners, including one from Kashmir, allegedly assaulted sub-inspector Pandee.

The TSP officer called for reinforcements to remove three prisoners. This is when other inmates of the ward allegedly intervened which led to a scuffle between them and the authorities. As many as 18 jail inmates were reportedly injured in the incident.

“The jail authorities have deposited the relevant evidence, including CCTV footage, to the probe teams. All employees of Tihar have been sensitised and asked to ensure that inherent dignity of the prisoners, while carrying out searches, are protected,”a senior home ministry official said.

Advocate Khan, however, questioned version of events given by the jail authorities. “Each high risk cell houses 2-3 prisoners and, for a moment, even if we consider that inmates of one cell misbehaved the rest 24 prisoners were locked in their barricades. What was the need to unlock the barricade and beat them when they couldn’t even reach attacking officials. This is not the first time that high risk ward prisoners have been beaten up. In August, inmates had gone on a huger strike against poor conditions in the prison,” Khan said.

Ajay Kashyap, Director General Tihar, did not return calls or responded to the messages sent to him by Hindustan Times.

First Published: Dec 01, 2017 12:34 IST