The suicide of 33-year-old Ram Singh, the prime accused in the December 16 Delhi gang rape case, has raised questions about the role of authorities who were keeping a watch on him.
Singh was not alone in the cell in Jail number three of the prisons when he used his clothes to hang himself from the grill early Monday morning, jail sources said.
A guard was posted outside his cell to keep a watch on him but could not detect the happenings inside the cell. Other inmates, who were sleeping, also did not know that Singh was hanging himself, they said.
Sources said a metropolitan magistrate will inquire into the incident.
Singh and other four accused in the case were also under suicide watch -- an alert that the inmates could take extreme step -- since January after they stopped interacting with other inmates.
Mamata Sharma, National Women's Commission Chairperson, raised questions about the functioning of Tihar Jail, saying it was "shocking" that the administration could not protect the under trial and demanded an inquiry. "The question mark is on Tihar," she said.
Kiran Bedi, former Tihar Director General, said only an inquiry will tell under what special watch was he and what happened to that watch. "How did this man give this watch a slip? I think we need to wait for the inquiry," she said.
"Where a prison inmate loses hope and knows he has no chance of getting away he does look for opportunities to take his own life inside jail. The enquiry ordered will reveal what kind of e-watch or h-watch (human watch) he was under," she said.
She noted that the case was widely reported and the accused were facing social boycott within and outside jail.
"Here is a person who is in a small cell and would probably be living as long as the watch remains. So the moment he can give a slip to that watch, he had the chance to escape the gallows.
"So I think that’s what he has done. Such cases are very vulnerable for the prison and very challenging. It is a very heavy responsibility for the prison to keep a very alert and sharp electronic eye and a physical eye and a personal eye," she said.