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Maoist inmates' siege of Beur jail ends
Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna | December 18, 2007 11:31 IST
Last Updated: December 18, 2007 17:33 IST
After hours of negotiations with protesting Maoist inmates, who took over a large part of Patna's high security Beur jail on Tuesday morning, failed, police used mild lathi charge to disperse them and sent them back to their cells.
The jail administration has regained full control of the jail and hundreds of agitating Maoist inmates were forced to return to their cells following the police lathi charge.
However, Bihar's Inspector-General Sandeep Paundrik denied reports that Maoist inmates had taken over the jail. "There was no such thing. Only some Maoist inmates were protesting," Paundrik said after over 200 police personnel entered the jail to restore normalcy.
The police also launched massive search operations in the jail's wards and cells to seize arms, ammunition, cell phones and other items, if any.
"The situation is fully under control and negotiations are going on with agitating Maoist inmates to look into their protests and demands," IG Anil K Sinha said.
Sinha downplayed the Maoist inmates' control over the jail, saying that only 200 Maoist inmates were demanding a probe into the suicide of a Maoist inmate Nageena Manjhi a few days ago in the jail and better health facilities.
Manjhi, an active member of the outlawed Maoist outfit, was found hanging from an iron gate of the jail infirmary, where he was being treated for a minor ailment.
Maoist inmates accused the prison officials of failing to provide Manjhi prompt medical help.
Sources in the district administration told rediff.com that negotiations with Maoist inmates had failed after they demanded compensation of Rs 25 lakh to Manjhi's kin.
Nearly six hours after the takeover, armed personnel of the Bihar police, Special Task Force and Special Armed Police moved into the jail.
The Maoist inmates had earlier attacked police personnel on duty, ransacked a portion of the jail, and even assaulted some inmates, including politicians lodged in the jail.
After Maoists took over a large part of the jail, police officials on duty had fled fearing for their lives. According to jail officials, nearly 3,000 inmates are lodged in Beur jail, more than double its capacity.
All jails in the state were put on high alert on Monday, a day after a Maoist jailbreak in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada district.
The state's home department had issued directives to all superintendents of jails to be on maximum alert in view of Maoist jailbreak in Chhattisgarh.
Sources in the state police headquarters said that after intelligence reports fearing a Maoist attack, like the infamous Jehanabad jailbreak in November 2005, security has been tightened around all jails following the Dantewada jailbreak.