FOUR DAYS ago, when lawyers stormed the lock-up in the Tis Hazari court complex in Delhi, triggering a face-off with police, the facility had 155 undertrial prisoners — including Unnao rape accused and expelled BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar, according to records reviewed by The Indian Express.
Records show that “during the time of the incident, UTP (undertrial prisoner) Kuldeep Sengar, an accused in Unnao rape case, was also lodged in the lock-up”.
Sengar was brought to the court Saturday for a hearing in a murder case related to the deaths of two relatives of the girl from Unnao who accused him of rape in 2017. In July, the victim’s two aunts were killed, and the victim and her lawyer critically injured, when a truck rammed into the car they were travelling in.
Apart from Sengar, records show, two of the 155 undertrials in the lock-up at that time were tagged as high-risk — one of them has a “special armed guard” as he was a “potential threat with escape possibilities”. Among the undertrials were 12 women, and the facility was being guarded by the 3rd battalion of Delhi Police.
On Saturday, a parking row between police and lawyers at the complex took an ugly turn — one advocate suffered a gunshot injury and eight of his colleagues were injured in a lathicharge, and at least 20 policemen were beaten up. Both sides have blamed the other.
A senior police officer told The Indian Express: “Ensuring the safety of the inmates was a priority as some were flight-risks, too. The lawyers set items ablaze in front of the lock-up and if the fire had spread, it would have been a disaster. Safety of the inmates was a priority. The window panes of the jail vans were broken and police personnel removed the shards of glass with their bare hands so that inmates don’t use them as weapons.”
As per the document, “apart from Sengar’s presence, the safety and security, the modesty, dignity of female UTPs was at stake during the ruckus created by violent group of advocates who barged into the lock-up premises by breaking the main gate of the Tis Hazari lock-up”.
On Wednesday, the standoff between the lawyers and the police reached the Rohini district court with two lawyers threatening to attempt suicide. At the Saket district court, meanwhile, advocates allegedly locked the gates and didn’t let anyone enter the premises, including litigants.