LUCKNOW: Be it the gruesome killing of Munna Bajrangi in Baghpat jail premises or inmates seen brandishing weapons in Unnao jail or even criminals enjoying liquor, getting free run of narcotics on jail premises are enough examples to establish that jail in UP serves more like the safe houses to hardcore criminals and mafia who remain active from inside and operate at will besides enjoying every luxury on jail premises.
A number of videos which went viral on social media recently were telltale signs of flourishing criminal –staff nexus in UP jails. The gravity of the situation can be gauged from the fact that whenever a crime of the magnitude of contract killing, abduction, loot or extortion happens, UP police turns to jails for vital inputs as in many cases, the links could be traced to incarcerated notorious criminals and mafia.
In the wake of increasing incidents lawlessness in jails reflecting the connivance between jail staff and criminals, the state government has decided to upgrade security and take other steps in at least two dozen jails of 71 present in the state on the lines of high-security Tihar jail. The hypersensitive jails selected for upgradation include those where hardcore criminals, terror suspects, mafia dons and others are incarcerated.
As per the highly-placed sources, the jail administration is believed to have staggered the upgradation into three phases.
The first phase would deal with sprucing up a security cordon around the jails. The foremost step proposed would be to deploy around 1300 police personnel on deputation from other forces to man jails’ security.
In fact, the aim is to erect a three-layered security cordon cover. The outer most layer would be guarded by cops from other forces.
They will be deployed on duty rotation basis and their deployment would be effected by district police chief instead of jail authorities. No one cop would be able to stay at one place or more than 45 days.
On the other, the innermost security layer and the administration of the jail would be handled by the jail staff.
After addressing the security concerns, the second phase would curb the use of mobile phones on jail premises. In the recent raids at Sultanpur, Deoria, Pratapgarh, Naini in Prayagraj and Barabanki jails, authorities seized mobile phones from the possession of inmates in respectable numbers as the criminals operate their gangs through mobile phones. The jail administration, headed by DG, prisons, Anand Kumar, has already issued a circular in this respect forbidding even the jail staff to carry mobile phones on premises during the duty
The third and final phase would include frisking of visitors, jail inmates and also the jail staff by the cops in those two dozen jails which were chosen to be sensitised.
According to sources, the jail staff which remained posted at one jail for years together would now be transferred in order to check staff-inmate ‘nexus’.
The prison administration has also sent a proposal to the state government for the recruitment of 3,678 jail staff, including warders and jail guards.