Afzal's family hasn't approached us: Tihar DG
The family of Afzal Guru, who was hanged two weeks ago at Tihar jail, has not yet approached the prison authorities to pray at his grave though the government has made the offer for his close relatives.
"We have not received any letter from Guru's family in this regard," Director General of Tihar Prisons Vimla Mehra told reporters.
The government has already said it will allow Guru's close relatives to visit his grave, an offer rejected by the family which has been insisting on return of his body to them.
Asked whether jail authorities will allow family members to visit Guru's grave if they make a request, Mehra refrained from giving a direct reply, saying "the government is considering it."
On the criticism that the letter sent to Guru's family informing about his hanging reached two days after his execution, Mehra said, "It was a job (Afzal's hanging) assigned to us and we followed the official procedure to execute it."
Guru was hanged at Tihar jail on February 9 in a top secret operation after his final appeal for mercy was rejected by President Pranab Mukherjee. His body was buried inside the jail premises.
Addressing an annual press conference, the DG also listed various activities undertaken at the jail in the past one year.
She said a blanket making unit was established at jail number nine this year where 80 convicts are working currently. The unit supplies blankets to Delhi Police and Delhi Health Department.
Mehra said though the jail administration emphasises on reforming the prisoners, it never compromises on security issues. She said 21 new mobile phone jammers have been installed in the jail premises this year.
"Now, we have a total of 31 jammers in 10 jails. Several cases were reported this year where mobile phones were seized from convicts, which they had smuggled into jail premises by keeping it in their body cavities. A proposal is under consideration to acquire full-body scanners to eradicate this possibility and make jail premises safer," she said.
Highlighting various initiatives, Mehra identified relaxation of guidelines for selection of convicts for confinement in the semi-open jail as one of the major achievements.
Now a prisoner who served imprisonment for "more than five years but less than 12 years" will be eligible to stay at semi-open jail where they can live without much of a restriction. Those sentenced to life imprisonment will have to spend at least 12 years in normal jail without remission to be eligible to stay in semi open jail. will be eligible for this relaxed treatment of Open Jail.
"We have already shortlisted 24 convicts to be shifted to the semi-open jail," said Mehra.
She informed that around 600 convicts are working at a factory inside Tihar jail producing various goods like cloths, stationary goods, spices and other eatables which are marketed under the brand name 'TJ'.
The factory has generated a revenue of around Rs 27 crore so far in the current financial year in comparison to last year's Rs 18 crore.
Talking about placement of inmates who have acquired various skills inside jail premises or completed different courses, Mehra said 342 prisoners have got employment this year. She said a placement drive will take place next month.
She said 18 deaths have been reported in the jail of which 16 were natural deaths while two inmates committed suicide.
"92 cases of indiscipline were reported. Seven people were caught for carrying mobile phones while narcotics were seized from four inmates against whom proceedings have been initiated."