An undertrial at National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) on Sunday picked up a rifle from an empty guard room and opened indiscriminate fire. He was overpowered after a three-hour standoff with an anti-terror commando squad. Vishwanath (27), a resident of Bengaluru, was being tried for murder. About a month ago, he was shifted from Bengaluru central prison to the criminals’ ward at NIMHANS, which houses mentally ill prisoners.
The drama at the psychiatry ward began around 3.30 pm. Sources at NIMHANS said Vishwanath, who was left unguarded briefly, entered an empty guard room and picked up a 303 rifle.
“The room had five 303 rifles and an ammunition box. One of the police guards returned from the restroom and found him holding a gun. When he refused to hand it over, the guard locked the prisoner in the room,” a hospital staffer said. After he was locked in, the prisoner fired indiscriminately, the police said.
Doctors at NIMHANS tried to talk Vishwanath into surrendering. “We even brought his mother to the hospital to speak to him. She asked him to surrender but he did not,” a police official said.
Bengaluru Police then called in the Garud commando unit attached to the Internal Security Division. Hospital officials said Garud force barged into the room at 6.40 pm and opened fire, injuring the prisoner.
Vishwanath was admitted to hospital, where doctors said his condition was very critical.