Taking a serious view of the violence in Gurdaspur central jail, CM Captain Amarinder Singh has convened a high-level meeting of police and Home department officials next week to review the security in the state’s prisons in the light of frequent incidents of violence and clashes in jails since the past several years.
The chief minister has directed a review of the security conditions in the state’s prisons and promised sweeping reforms to eliminate the rot that had set in the jails during the past 10 years of Badal misrule.
At the meeting next week, the government will review the report submitted recently by the high-powered committee on jail reforms and will initiate measures to improve the prison administration in Punjab.
In a statement issued here, Raveen Thukral, Media Advisor to CM, said that Captain Amarinder had ordered the concerned officers to deal with the situation in Gurdaspur jail as they deemed fit and ensure that law and order was restored in the prison without delay.
Expressing grave concern over the frequent outbreak of trouble, including violent clashes, in Punjab’s prisons, the chief minister said he had been in touch with senior police, prison and intelligence officials since the violence erupted in the Gurdaspur prison and the situation was now under control.
The chief minister made it clear that his government would make all efforts to wipe out this dangerous legacy of the erstwhile Akali government, which had given a free rein to criminals, mafias and miscreants to take the law into their hands without fear of any punitive repercussions.
In his preliminary report on the Gurdaspur incident, state Home Secretary N.S Kalsi said the situation was resolved through the successful intervention of the police on the intervening night of March 24 and 25. The report says the incident occurred when a few gangsters, undergoing trial in several murder cases, incited inmates of one of the barracks to confront the prison staff after assaulting three jail warders on duty.
Thukral said the chief minister lauded the restraint showed by the staff on duty, who did not cause any injury to any of the inmates even though they were forced to fire in the air to contain the miscreants. He disclosed that cases under relevant sections had been registered against the miscreants for assaulting jail staff, rioting, destruction of government property and violation of jail rules.
In his report, the home secretary has said the incident was the result of years of neglect of the jail administration, about 50% shortfall in the sanctioned staff strength, poor administrative structure and lack of equipment in the state’s prisons.
Since 2011, there have been more than a dozen such incidents of rioting and violent clashes in various jails across the state, the report says.