1 dead in Ludhiana jail clash; inmates post live videos on FB
Ludhiana: One person died and five prisoners and six police personnel received injuries after a bloody clash erupted between two groups of inmates in Ludhiana Central Jail on Thursday as they pelted stones at each other.
The inmates even made video clips of the incident on their cellphones and posted them live on Facebook.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who is in New Delhi, has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident, to be conducted by the Deputy Commissioner of Ludhiana. Taking serious note of the incident, the Chief Minister asked for a detailed probe to identify the instigators of the violence.
The police fired several rounds in the air to bring the situation under control, a jail official told IANS. In the melee, 11 inmates tried to escape but most of them were apprehended.
State Jail Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, who did not rule out the possibility of using mobile phones in jails, admitted that there was no work culture in the prisons.
He also demanded the deployment of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in all the high-security jails in Punjab.
Deputy Commissioner of Ludhiana, Pradeep Aggarwal, told the media outside the jail that all the inmates have now been locked in the barracks.
He said the death of jail inmate Sunny Sood due to illness at a hospital on Wednesday night provoked the violence.
The news of Sood’s death triggered a riot in the jail premises with the 3,100-odd inmates refusing to return to their barracks and taking to pelting stones, which were available due to some ongoing construction work.
The rioting inmates also set on fire the record room and the car of the Jail Superintendent apart from vandalising jail properties, officials said.
As they tried to break the prison gates, the police tried to stop them by firing in the air, as per initial reports.
Thursday’s incident took place less than a week after Mohinder Pal Bittu, the prime suspect in a case relating to the desecration of Guru Granth Sahib in Bargari in 2015, was beaten to death in the high-security prison in Nabha, near Patiala, by a murder convict and a murder accused on June 22.
Demanding the sacking of the Jail Minister, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Singh Badal said the violence in Ludhiana jail was the latest proof of ‘jungle raj’ in the state.
“Prisoners rebelled, used gas cylinders to conduct blasts and even chased and injured prison guards, including a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DCP), besides breaking out from the jail. This is indicative of a complete breakdown in administration of jails in Punjab,” he said.
A clean up exercise was needed which could only be done by immediately sacking Randhawa, Sukhbir Badal added.
A probe by a sitting judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court should be ordered to ascertain what led to this incident and why the jail administration failed to control it, he added.
“Earlier, we have continuously witnessed cases of drug seizures and use of mobile phones in jails. The Patiala jail has even witnessed sodomy on jail inmates in league with jail officials to extort money from them. There are also widespread reports of corruption and mismanagement,” he said in a statement.
The Ministry of Home Affairs in a communication to the state government on June 25 announced the deployment of CRPF in three high-security prisons in the state in Amritsar, Ludhiana and Bathinda.