Himansu Shekhar Rout

Questions are cropping up over reformation and safety measures in the prisons of Odisha, after a spate of incidents including escape of prisoners, drug abuse, and seizure of narcotics and cell phones. 

As per reports, a few days ago, a cell phone was found inside the Khordha jail. On checking the call details record, police got info about drug abuse. They raided the jail and seized 265 gm brown sugar. It shocked all. How could the banned substance find its way into the well-secured jail premises? On March 5, four inmates were taken into custody for interrogation in his regard.

After the drug seizure, inmates reportedly fought among themselves, suspecting that one of them was acting as a police informer. An inmate was injured in the fight. The matter is being investigated and a case was registered against seven inmates. 

Khordha jail superintendent, Krushnachandra Rout said, "Some veteran prisoners often try to exercise their power. Some inmates attacked one a few days ago. I filed a complaint in this regard."  

Khordha SDPO, Dillip Das said, "All are safe, but we are investigating the case.“ 

In another case, two murder accused – Sobhan Rana and Sumit Bihari - who were lodged in Titilagarh sub-jail in Bolangir managed to escape. They are yet to be arrested.

Security loopholes in Bolangir jail came to the fore after pictures of Sobhan and Sumit surfaced in which they were found taking part in a feast at the Hanuman temple outside the jail. In the pictures, jail superintendent Chittaranjan Sahoo and sub-jailor Chaitanya Pradhan were seen relishing the feast. 

While investigating the escape of inmates, DIG (Prisons) Kulamani Behera said that the jail superintendent used to engage the two UTPs in different works. 

However, two warders Dani Dora and Sangita Giri were suspended instead of the jail superintendent.  

Chittaranjan Sahu, jail superintendent of Titlagarh, was tight-lipped on the escape of two inmates.   

Senior Lawyer Pramod Kumar Mishra said, "The Supreme Court has specific guidelines about jail safety and conduct. This is a blatant violation of guidelines. If the jail superintendent had asked the inmates to serve food at the feast, action should be taken against him.”  

As for jail reformation, Biswapriya Kanungo, a human rights activist, said, "We want no crime to happen. Jails should be treated as hospitals so that inmates can be reformed.”

  • Reported by:
  • BALRAM LENKA , MANARANJAN JOSHI
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