Two years ago, ex-prison chief told Madhya Pradesh govt: Jail vulnerable, many gaps, how long will God help

Former Madhya Pradesh IG (Prisons), G K Agarwal, had sent the letter a few months after the jailbreak in Khandwa in late 2013 when six SIMI activists had escaped.

Written by Milind Ghatwai | Bhopal | Updated: November 2, 2016 12:26 pm
bhopal simi, simi, simi activist, simi activists killed, bhopal jailbreak, bhopal jailbreak simi, congress simi, india news, indian express, Police personnel guarding outside Bhopal Central Jail in Bhopal. (PTI Photo)

THE MADHYA Pradesh government had been warned in 2014 by a retired jail official about the “vulnerable points, illogical security arrangements and deplorable condition of staff” at Bhopal Central Jail, from where eight activists of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) escaped on Monday and were later killed in an encounter.

Former Madhya Pradesh IG (Prisons), G K Agarwal, told The Indian Express that he had written the letter to the then state chief secretary, Anthony Desa, on June 26, 2014, and marked copies to National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and the Intelligence Bureau.

WATCH VIDEO: Here’s What Ex-Prison Chief Told MP Government Two Years Ago

But nothing came of the warning, said Agarwal, even though he had sent the letter a few months after the jailbreak in Khandwa in late 2013 when six SIMI activists had escaped.

Ex-IG (Prisons) G K Agarwal sent letter to chief secy Ex-IG (Prisons) G K Agarwal sent letter to chief secy

Agarwal said that he had also sought a meeting with authorities to offer suggestions on how to prevent such incidents from occurring in Bhopal or other jails, but got no response.

In the letter, Agarwal wrote: “At present, SIMI activists from other prisons have been kept in the Bhopal Central Jail. But given the structure of the jail building, its vulnerable points, illogical security arrangement and deplorable condition of staff, it would be wrong to presume that everything is OK if no major incident takes place. God is helping but it would a mistake to presume that he will continue to offer help.’’

Agarwal said that the letter had been forward to the jail administration at the time. When contacted, DG (Jail) Sanjay Chaudhary told The Indian Express that he was not aware of the letter.

“Given my experience, I thought it was my moral duty to apprise those in power about the situation,’’ said Agarwal, who retired in 2000.

He declined to specify the “vulnerable points” mentioned in the letter, but said that “the way the jail was built, there are many”.

“After the Khandwa jailbreak, I realised how easy it would be for SIMI activists or other hardened criminals to escape, given the way the jail department functions,” said Agarwal.

WATCH VIDEO: Bhopal Jailbreak: 8 SIMI Activists Killed In Encounter

The retired officer alleged that the jail administration was hampered by staff shortage, which was compounded by the posting of several guards at the residences of senior prison officials.

On Monday, police said that the SIMI activists escaped around 3 am from the Central Jail after killing a head constable by slitting his throat using spoons and steel plates, and tying up another guard before crossing a wall using a rope made of bedsheets. Several guards were on leave when the jail break occurred, said officials.

On Tuesday, police said that a dedicated unit had been formed to provide round-the-clock security at the barracks where SIMI undertrials and other hardened criminals were lodged. A senior officer told The Indian Express that some of these activists had tried to escape in the past, too, but that bid was foiled.

Agarwal had previously raised questions over the state’s handling of its jails after it suspended a jailer for releasing five SIMI activists as part of the BJP government’s amnesty scheme in 2011 for prisoners who had completed half their terms and whose conduct was certified as “good”.

The five had been serving their term in Khachrod sub-jail and were among 600 prisoners released across the state on January 26 that year. They were re-arrested after protests by Bajrang Dal and VHP workers.

The state government later amended the scheme, excluding those convicted under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and other serious crimes.

Agarwal had defended the jailer, who faced a departmental inquiry, and argued that he was suspended for implementing government orders while senior officers got away with transfers. The government later revoked the inquiry.

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  1. W
    With.blessings
    Nov 2, 2016 at 1:03 am
    That letter is fake. To fool people.
    Reply
    1. A
      Amar Akbar
      Nov 2, 2016 at 5:14 am
      4 Sunni Muslim Groups Responsible for 66% of All 17,958 Terror Killings in 2013, 80% in 2014 and 95% of all terror kiIIings in 2015. This is the religion of peace.
      Reply
      1. J
        JM
        Nov 3, 2016 at 5:33 am
        Two unarmed policemen to guard against these 8 beasts? They would have been much safer had they been thrown inside lion's cage. I am sure other surviving police man will face full force of the law for dereliction of duty while his seniors will enjoy their 'suspension' treating this as a paid holiday!
        Reply
        1. B
          BALU
          Nov 3, 2016 at 11:42 am
          at the first order, escaping from a jail having extreme height of walls that too by rope of bed sheets!! it is unbelievable. however, a thorough and an impartial probe without interference of political leaders/parties b commissioned and the investigation b completed not less than thirty days. after all, our country is the largest democracy in the world !! Balu
          Reply
        2. D
          dd
          Nov 2, 2016 at 12:25 am
          Few years ago people recommended to BAN IE....Thse are just a time p news..
          Reply
          1. D
            Deeply Concerned
            Nov 2, 2016 at 1:27 am
            Abhe Ameat Shah, first plug the gaps internally in jails, and then talk about borders, else plug the gap in your mouth
            Reply
            1. D
              Deeply Concerned
              Nov 2, 2016 at 1:28 am
              And we have to believe an like you
              Reply
              1. D
                Deeply Concerned
                Nov 2, 2016 at 1:30 am
                Who are Bajrang Dal and VHP to decide who goes to prison??? This is definitely a murder of justice and Modi is perpetrating such crimes by not appointing judges who are honest.
                Reply
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