Tribune News Service
Bathinda, February 14
The seizure of seven mobile phones from jail inmates inside the high-security Bathinda Central Jail in the last one week has raised a question mark over the security arrangements of the jail authorities.
On the complaints of the jail authorities, the Bathinda police registered six cases into these incidents in the last four days. The recovery of mobile phones from time to time during search operations from jail inmates, has put the authorities in a dilemma.
On February 8, three mobile phones were recovered during checking from inside the jail. Of them, one was recovered from a jail inmate while two were found lying idle in the jail.
On February 10, two mobile phones and one head phone were recovered. On February 12, one mobile phone was recovered and on February 13, a mobile phone was recovered from a jail inmate. Despite the recovery of a large number of mobile phones, the jail authorities and the police have failed to find out that how these mobile phones reached the jail premises.
The prohibited material continues to make its way inside the jail due to “innovative” ways of inmates and the involvement of insiders. It has become a major challenge for the jail authorities to check the slipping of the prohibited material inside the jail premises.
In November, a CRPF company was deployed in various parts of the jail to strengthen the security system. Despite deploying paramilitary forces, officials failed to check the instances of sneaking prohibited material, including drugs and cell phones, into high-security jails.
The Union Home Ministry has sanctioned four CRPF companies for the Amritsar, Ludhiana, Kapurthala and Bathinda jails.
In the past two years, over 100 phones were recovered from the Bathinda Central Jail. It is believed that many gangsters and criminals lodged in the Bathinda jail used mobile phones for “commissioning murders, planning escapes and arranging drugs”.
After an amendment to the Prisons Act, 1894, in September 2016, a prisoner or inmate found guilty of possessing, operating a mobile phone or their component parts such as SIM card, memory card, battery or charger can be punished for a term not exceeding one year.
Notably, the state government had decided to install jammers in all jails, but the project has not yet started due to lack of funds. About Rs 4 crore was earmarked to provide modern communication devices to the jail staff in 2012.
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