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Inmates on rampage in Gurdaspur jail, two warders assaulted, shots fired

The inmates were reportedly peeved because the prison authorities were not allowing their relatives and friends to visit them. Besides this, the offenders didn’t approve of the extensive security checks they were being subjected to.

punjab Updated: Mar 24, 2017 23:16 IST
Kamaljit Singh Kamal
Kamaljit Singh Kamal
Hindustan Times, Gurdaspur
Jail staffers had to fire around two dozen rounds to quell the rioting inmates.(HT Photo)

After rioting by inmates left two warders injured inside Gurdaspur Central Jail around noon on Friday, fresh violence erupted around 9.30 pm when more jail inmates joined the agitated prisoners over alleged insulting behaviour of the security staff.

Sources said police personnel posted on the security towers of the jail fired a number of gunshots in the air to intimidate the agitated inmates who pelted whatever they could seize, including bricks, at the security staff around them.

Meanwhile, armed police laid siege around the building of the jail as a preventive measure, and heavy force was deployed on roads leading to and linked to the jail. Firing by the police was on at the time of filing this report at 11 pm. No police official could be contacted for an update, despite repeated efforts.

Earlier in the day, inmates went on a rampage and jail staff had to fire at least 20 rounds of gunfire to control the violence, which erupted around 12.40 pm. It began when the two warders, Mahesh Kumar and Mohinder Masih, were attacked by five gangsters lodged in barrack number 4. They used water supply pipes to beat up the duo, who had come to take them for a medical examination.

Things came to a head when jail staffers tried to restrain the five – Shamsher Singh, Jagtar Singh, Jagga, Romi and Gopi — and other inmates joined forces and began hurling stones at the staff. A rampage ensued, with inmates breaking CCTV cameras and damaging a mobile-signal jammer. Quilts and bedsheets were also set on fire. The inmates then ran to the first floor and locked themselves in.

Senior superintendent of police Bhupinderjit Singh Virk reached the jail and summoned every station house officer from the district to the spot. Even as the inmates raised slogans against the jail superintendent, police cordoned off the area. Later, additional director general of police (jails) Rohit Choudhary and deputy inspector general Surinder Singh Saini launched negotiations with the inmates.

Stating that the situation has been “brought under control”, Virk said, “After the negotiations, the inmates started coming downstairs. They claimed that the jail warders misbehaved with them.” He said a case would be registered only after the prison authorities submit a report.

According to sources, the inmates were peeved because the prison authorities were not allowing their relatives and friends to visit them. Besides this, the offenders didn’t approve of extensive security checks that they were being subjected to.

After the fresh violence at night, the officers were incommunicado.

Crime in prison: Recent incidents

March 23: Two groups clashed in Kapurthala jail, two inmates were hospitalised

March 20: The Kotwali police booked five prisoners for attacking and injuring three jail inmates in Kapurthala

February 26: Four mobiles were recovered during an inspection at Nabha’s maximum security jail

February 25: 11 mobile phones were recovered from Amritsar jail

February 12: 17 mobile phones, 2 knives were recovered from Amritsar jail

February 5: Eight mobile phones were recovered from Patiala central jail

January 19: A note was pasted outside Faridkot prison, challenging police to stop jailbreak

November 27, 2016: At least 10 armed men broke into the premises of the Nabha jail and freed six inmates

First Published: Mar 24, 2017 15:00 IST