As part of a security overhaul at prisons following the recent murder of alleged Indian Mujahideen operative Qateel Siddiqui an accused in the New Delhi Jama Masjid attack and the Bangalore Chinnaswamy stadium blast cases inside Punes Yerawada jail,20 inmates lodged at Arthur Road jail,Navi Mumbais Taloja jail,Kalyan jail and Thane jail have been moved to other cells within the prisons.
Prison security officers have also received strict instructions with a list of dos and donts to ensure that security remains optimum at prisons in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR).
The move to reshuffle and recategorise inmates comes after a security audit conducted by prison authorities following Siddiquis murder. While Arthur Road jail houses 26/11 gunman Ajmal Kasab in a specially designed high-security cell,the Taloja Jail houses gangsters Abu Salem,D K Rao and members of various gangs.
Inspector General of Police (Prisons) Surendra Kumar told Newsline that the inmates and under-trials were shifted after they told prison authorities that they feared their lives were under threat. We have shifted 20 inmates and under-trials in various prisons to different cells within the prisons. Detailed interviews were conducted of those shifted,as well as 116 others whose concerns did not seem warranted. They told us that they were feeling under threat. We had come up with our own security assessment and felt that their fears were genuine. The move to relocate inmates within prisons is purely from the security point-of-view, said Kumar.
Prisons department sources said separate inquiries were conducted to ascertain if the inmates actually faced threats. Background checks and details about associates and rivals were also sought,said sources. Prison officers,especially those posted inside the barracks,have been given strict instructions to ensure that security remains high. They have been instructed to be punctual. They have also been asked to ensure that cells are locked on time. We do not want to leave any room for error, said Kumar.
Orders have also been issued to conduct surprise checks at regular intervals inside prisons.