Nagpur: After the shocking and unexpected jail breakout and encounter deaths of 8 SIMI prisoners in Bhopal, the security around the Nagpur Central jail, the second biggest in the state of Maharashtra has been strengthened and police guarding it asked to remain more alert.
The Nagpur Central jail is one of the biggest in the country where many notorious criminals have been incarcerated – this was where Yakub Memon was hanged last year. The jail premises themselves are 34 acres and the land surrounding it, including farm land and staff quarters is a whopping 200 acres. It would be a nightmare to guard such a prison, unlike the ISO certified Bhopal prison which is considered one of the safest in the country.
Nagpur Today had an exclusive conversation with Jail DIG ,Nagpur, Yogesh Desai about what measures are being taken to safeguard similar happenings in Nagpur.
Nagpur Central jail houses 2500 inmates with 250 guards standing sentinel.
It is a sad fact of the prison scenarios of India that only 700 are convicted criminals, the rest are still ‘under trials’ – that is no crime has been proved against them.
“That is the situation of all Indian jails” agrees the DIG, “the number of under trials are more everywhere and therefore there is overcrowding. The Supreme Court has also bemoaned the situation calling it a travesty of justice.”
It may be mentioned here that the 8 ‘SIMI’ men killed in Bhopal were also undergoing trial i.e. they were not yet convicted of any crime or proved to be belonging to SIMI.
But convicted or not, it is the duty of the Jailer to prevent the inmates of his jail from escaping. Which has been comparatively easy from Nagpur jail as the incident of 5 escapees last year had showed.
DIG Desai has set in place a number of fresh measures to enforce security.
New CCTV cameras have been installed – to keep a watch on happenings inside, and if anything suspicious is observed, to have it checked out at once.
Any bags going in carried by anyone are being scanned through a scanner for suspicious objects.
The Dhantoli police has been deployed to guard the outside perimeter of the prison in addition to the 250 guards inside. (Worth mentioning here that Bhopal jail was short of 80 police as they were on VIP duty).
Lawyers and their assistants going in to meet their clients are being checked and their identities confirmed.
Surprise checks have been put in place to physically check what is transpiring inside. There are 4 – 5 convicted terrorists housed in the jail here – they are all being kept in separate ‘Anda jails’ and not allowed to meet each other. Jammers have been installed over the premises to prevent misuse of mobile phones.
“The most challenging time for the Nagpur jail was when Yakub Memon was hanged last year. I was Jail Superintendent then, I have since been elevated to the rank of DIG. My responsibility is greater now” says DIG Yogesh Desai.