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DAYS AFTER accused gangsters in police uniforms entered the maximum security Nabha prison in Punjab and fled along with six inmates, including the chief of the Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF), a circular has asked prisons across Maharashtra to check identification papers of policemen before letting them inside jails.
The circular, issued by the prisons department, has laid down guidelines to ensure that a Nabha-style attack is not carried out in any state prison.
Additional Director General of Police (prisons) B K Upadhyay confirmed that a circular had been sent across the 38 prisons in the state asking them to follow a series of guidelines. Amongst the several guidelines, one of the most important one is to check ID proof of police officials who come to the prison.
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“There are several times when inmates are accompanied by police officials for security purposes. In case they have to enter the prison, we have been asked to check their police identification card before letting them in,” a prison official said.
We have also been asked to check the court warrant or summons that the police officer should ideally be carrying while ferrying back inmates to the prison, prison official added.
A jail official said that normally the security tends to be relaxed when a police official is entering along with a prisoner as no one expects an officer to create any problem inside prisons. However, after this particular incident, when the accused entered the prison in the garb of police officers, we want to ensure that no such loophole can be exploited in prisons across Maharashtra that have inmates alleged to be linked with terror cases.
“We want to ensure that no one can take the advantage of police uniform to illegally gain entry into the prisons,” Upadhyay told The Indian Express. Apart from this method, there are several other measures that too have been recommended in the circular. One of the measures that has been mentioned is to ask the local police to have a layer of security outside prisons, within their jurisdiction, in order to prevent any Punjab jailbreak type situation in future.
“Normally jails have prison guards — a unit separate from the local police — who help secure the premises with police officials ferrying prisoners in and out of the prisons. However, prison guards are not as well trained or armed as the police officers in case of an armed attack. In case there is an attack from an armed group, an extra layer of security in the form of the local police would be required to neutralise the attack,” a jail official said.
Prisons across Maharashtra had been on high alert since the beginning of November after a jailbreak in Bhopal by inmates belonging to banned outfit of Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). “Ever since the incident, we have already been on alert and checking the number of accused suspected to be belonging to terror organisations and linked to gangsters. Now few more guidelines have been received ever since the Punjab incident,” a prison official said.