Another undertrial lodged at the Faridkot Modern Jail died on Tuesday,making him the 24th inmate of the prison to lose his life in the past 18 months.
While authorities say most fatalities were due to drug overdose,Balbir Singh,an accused in attempt to murder,suicide and arms act cases,succumbed to tuberculosis. A resident of Tahilwala village in Fazilka,he had been admitted at the Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital in Faridkot.
Balbirs death comes in the wake of magisterial probe report that stated that the prison and its staff were ill-equipped to handle the prisoners.
According to the report,compiled by Kotkapura SDM Darshan Singh Grewal,80 per cent of the prisoners are drug addicts and they form the majority of the inmates who lose their lives. The probe itself had been ordered after prisoners had clashed with police on April 22,this year,following the death of an inmate.
Faridkot DC Ravi Bhagat,who had been claiming of jail reforms post the April clashes,said: Regular medical camps are being conducted inside the jail and so far,600 of the 1,800 prisoners have been examined. Most of the prisoners suffer from hepatitis and jaundice,an indication that the prisoners are being exposed to drugs which are causing other infections in their bodies. Authorities,however,are yet to ascertain the cause of death in the 23 other cases.
The DC,on the other hand,said water samples (a common complaint among inmates) have passed tests while efforts are being taken to check drug abuse among prisoners.
In the past year and a half,jail authorities have seized 47 mobile phones and more than 15,000 drugs.
Meanwhile,the jail superintendent said that Balbirs post-mortem will be conducted in the presence of an executive magistrate.