A day after 29 inmates from Aurangabad Central Prison tested positive for Covid-19, two of them escaped from a Covid care facility, set up on the premises of a hostel, on Sunday night. The duo managed to escape by bending the grills of the window and using bed sheets to climb down from the first-floor room.
The 29 inmates, who had tested positive on Saturday, were shifted to a temporary Covid care facility for prison inmates, set up in a hostel in Kille Ark area.
Prison officials said two undertrials — Sayyed Saif Sayyed Asad (24), arrested in a case of counterfeiting and cheating and Akramkhan Ayazkhan (27), arrested in a murder case — managed to escape from the facility at 10.45 pm on Sunday.
Superintendent of Aurangabad Central Prison, Hiralal Jadhav, said, “The 29 inmates — most of whom have been asymptomatic — were housed in 15 rooms of the hostel-turned-care facility. Six prison guards and one officer were deployed for round-the-clock security. All rooms were locked from the outside. These two inmates escaped by bending the grills of the room window and using bedsheets to climb down from their room. As soon as this came to the notice of prison guards, they tried to give chase, but the duo escaped”
“While a police case has been registered against the two, we have also launched a parallel search. An inquiry has been launched against the jailer on duty and a prison guard, who was prima facie found negligent, has been suspended,” he added.
As many as 31 temporary jails and Covid care facilities for inmates have till now been earmarked across Maharashtra. On May 15, the Maharashtra Home department had issued a notification, giving powers to district collectors to take provisional possession of government or privately-owned buildings and designate them as temporary prisons, to be used for isolating a section of prisoners to prevent the spread of infection during the pandemic.
In the second week of May, 180 Covid-19 cases among the inmates and staff of Mumbai Central Jail, better known as Arthur Road Jail, and another case in Byculla Jail were detected. One 82-year-old inmate from Yerawada Prison in Pune, who was isolated in mid-April following respiratory problems and had passed away on May 9, later turned out to be Covid-19 positive.
Recently, 52 inmates and eight staff members of Solapur District Prison also tested positive and they were isolated in care centres. Till now, three deaths have been reported among prison inmates across the state due to the virus.
The state government has already announced that it is going to temporarily release over 17,000 inmates, which is half the pre-lockdown population of prisons in Maharashtra. Till now, of the targeted 17,000 releases, over 9,700 have been completed, including undertrials released on bail and convicts released on parole
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