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Spotlight on Arthur Road jail security

With a special court being set up on the Arthur Road jail premises to conduct the trial in the 26/11 terror attacks case and Ajmal Ameer Kasab...

Written by Sagnik Chowdhury | Mumbai |
February 15, 2009 12:17:05 am

With a special court being set up on the Arthur Road jail premises to conduct the trial in the 26/11 terror attacks case and Ajmal Ameer Kasab,the lone terrorist caught alive during the attacks,due to be lodged in the jail once the case is chargesheeted,the existing security arrangements and the potential threats to the prison have come under close scrutiny.

Jail officials are now revisiting the potential threat posed by buildings and shanties that have come up in close proximity to the boundary wall of the jail. Prison authorities say they are awaiting a decision on these structures from a special committee that has been set up by the government to review the problem.

“Though I am not in a position to disclose the details regarding security measures being taken for Kasab,every possible security threat will be examined and we will take all necessary precautions. We are definitely reviewing the prison security,and are also looking at the issue of a possible threat from buildings and shanties that exist around the jail perimeter,” Deputy Inspector General (Prisons) Rajnish Seth told Newsline.

Mumbai Police crime branch officials,who have Kasab in their custody now,have held several meetings with jail officials on the threat that exists to his life,and to discuss the precautions that need to be taken.

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“The threat from buildings around the jail depends on their distance from the walls of the jail,and on their height. While the Maharashtra Prison Manual does not mention anything about structures or buildings around prisons,a Model Prison Manual circulated to all states by the Centre prescribes that there should be no other building within a distance of 150 metres from a prison’s walls,” said Seth.

Alarmed at the rate at which illegal dwellings are coming up behind the high-security Arthur Road jail,prison authorities have written to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in April last year demanding that the structures should be demolished as they pose a ‘serious security concern’.

A special committee has been set up by the state government around three months ago to review the threat posed by buildings that have come up in close proximity to prisons. “The committee comprises officials from the Public Works Department and other agencies. A decision is still awaited from this committee,” said Seth.

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According to prison officials,the committee faces a dilemma on demolition of structures that came up prior to 1995,as the prison manual and a state legislature act are conflicting on the issue.

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First published on: 15-02-2009 at 12:17:05 am

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