In the wake of the jailbreak in Bhopal by SIMI operatives, the Madhya Pradesh government has decided to electrify compound walls of all jails in the state, arguing that “it’s the most cost-effective measure’’. DG (Jail) Sanjay Chaudhary told The Indian Express that the electrified fences will use solar power. The part of the jail where terror suspects and hardened criminals are kept will be converted into a high-security zone, he said.
When the SIMI activists fled the jail, there was just one head constable outside the cells they were lodged in. Slain head constable Ramashankar Yadav’s daughter Sonia has alleged that her father had complained to his seniors about the “rude behaviour” of the SIMI activists and their “constant demands”.
“The seniors told him to concede their demands because they were themselves scared of going to that area. His life could have been saved if they had beefed up the security,’’ said Sonia, whose marriage was to take place next month. A four-member committee has been formed to carry out security audit of all the central jails in the state, followed by similar audits in the district jails. Once the audit is over, the jail department will approach the state government for funds to boost infrastructure and manpower in the prisons.
All jails in Madhya Pradesh suffer from overcrowding and shortage of staff. The problem is compounded by the fact that some security personnel are deployed at the houses of ministers, former ministers and senior jail officials. The average ratio of security personnel to prisoners in the state’s jails is 1:10, much higher than the 1:6 ratio recommended in the jail manual.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan ordered the audit of the prisons after his visit to the Bhopal jail premises Wednesday.