The death of two convicts, one of them a lifer, at Tihar Jail on Thursday morning has once again brought to the fore the lawlessness prevailing in one of the country’s maximum security prisons. Records show that 15 Tihar jail officials have been suspended in the last three weeks for dereliction of duty after prohibited items were recovered from inmates. Records state that the whole of last year saw only 15 suspensions.
Deputy Inspector General (Prisons) Mukesh Prasad confirmed that 15 officials were suspended in the last three weeks.
Those suspended since April 21 include three assistant superintendents, three head warders and six warders. “Most of these officials were suspended after mobile phones, drugs and other prohibited items were recovered from the wards which were under their charge. Others were charged with dereliction of duty after an inmate was found dead inside his ward,” a senior jail official said.
Jail officials said they have seized 48 mobile phones from inmates in the last two months. They said that chances of smuggling prohibited items into the jail are the highest when an inmate goes out for a hearing or is taken for medical treatment.
“In both cases, prisoners are escorted by police personnel. But they allegedly take money from the inmates and supply them prohibited items. Petty corruption leads to serious problems,” the official said.
According to jail officials, prisoners have used metal fan blades, wire mesh, kitchen knives and even manhole covers to instigate violent clashes inside the jail. Jail officials also blame lack of adequate infrastructure for these incidents of violence.
“There are three dozen jammers at the jail. But we need 80 more. As the jail is situated in a residential area, residents keep complaining of network issues. Even TRAI guidelines state that we cannot cut access to mobile services in a residential area,” the official said.