JAIL Break: Matter Of Concern

December 2nd, 2016 | by Pranab Kumar Chakravarty
JAIL Break: Matter Of Concern
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TWO recent daring jail breaks -the first one in Bhopal and then in  Punjab’s Nabha-both called high security prisons, have not been taken lightly by the people concerned  after ordering high level probes. Incidentally , extremists  are involved  in the dare devilries  with the abetment of some insiders .Punjab’s Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal has a point when he says the Pak based handlers are involved in the adventure. It is a common scene that the Indian jails are overcrowded and have more under trial prisoners than convicted ones as no one can predict how long trial of an alleged accused will continue. While it is being probed whether the killings of all the terrorists who had escaped from Bhopal Central Jail in an encounter is justified, the much maligned Punjab, Haryana and Delhi Police deserve  commendation for nabbing  within 24 hours Harminder Singh Mintoo, chief of the banned Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF).It is not an accusation that Pakistan is leaving no stone unturned to revive the outlawed and moribund KLF to foment troubles in the western state close to its border. The prison authorities should have tightened security cover as they might have been tipped off by IB that the dreaded and resourceful Mintoo was in touch with Pakistan-based terror outfits, some senior Pak army officials and the Inter-Services Intelligence. Punjab is also close to volatile Jammu & Kashmir. Both Punjab and J & K are being utilised by ISI not only for infiltrating terrorists but also as a market for illicit drugs to fatten its treasury for bankrolling terror outfits across India.

Neither is it a closely guarded  secret that Pakistan is  harbouring  other  terror organisations like Babbar Khalsa International, the Khalistan Tiger’s Force , International Sikh Youth Federation and Khalistan Zindabad Force committed to the same purpose .They have  chosen the two border states Punjab and J & K for brainwashing the youth and other vulnerable  groups against so-called Indian dominance in the Muslim majority state , especially the presence of the Army and the BSF deployed for the legitimate assignment for securing the innocent local populace as well as the disturbed International Borders being violated by the enemy nation. The locals and those entrusted with the task of guarding the prisons fortunately do not feign ignorance about the motives of the neighbouring theocratic nation. The escapades at the cost of national security have highlighted that some people have played with national interest for ulterior motives. They must be identified, shamed, prosecuted and awarded exemplary punishment. No leniency should be shown to them.

The concerned officials cannot absolve themselves of any responsibility for the failure of their designated staffs to prevent jailbreaks and other violation of the statute books in the prisons including Delhi’s high profile Tihar Jail. No time should be lost to secure the prisons and their inmates since they are vulnerable to militant groups. A blueprint should be worked out and implemented involving the central and state governments. Connectivity, gadgets, gizmos and the latest technology are being utilised by criminals. Techno savvy good looking, smart and educated youngsters including girls and women are being used by syndicated gangsters. Many of them operate at the national level.

The Punjab jailbreak is an instance of security lapse and hence, it also needs to be examined  taking into account that  Pak abetted Islamists have built contacts with the inmates of Indian jails. The Nabha and Bhopal incidents should probed to find out if there was any link between the masterminds in two jails. There should a mechanism to initiate and maintain coordination among the prisons and these should be brought on the IB’s radar.

The grievances of the jail authorities should be looked into without further delay. Despite The National Crime Records Bureau drawing the government’s attention to more than 27,000 jail vacancies in 2015, no remedial steps has been taken. The sanctioned strength is claimed to be 80,000. The report also says that more than 200 inmates escaped in the incidents of jail-break and from custody in 2015. Punjab has a record of more than 41 per cent vacancies in its jails in 2015.

The Central and State Governments have to be more tuned in to the basic concerns with regard to adequate jail staff and the number of inmates. Besides, increased staff, more CCTV cameras to cover both inside and at least 2 km around the jails as also effective and efficient superintendence and maintenance of jails must be ensured. The Governments in Delhi and states must brainstorm over the deep rooted crisis which may happen in other states.

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