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Crackdown on 'luxurious' UP jails; 5 dead

Last updated on: June 26, 2007 01:18 IST

A violent clash followed by prolonged pitched battle between cops and inmates left five dead in Sultanpur district jail in Uttar Pradesh on Monday.

Simultaneous raids on different jails across the length and breadth of Uttar Pradesh made shocking revelations.

The raids were ordered by the Mayawati government that issued directives to all district magistrates and district police superintendents to carry out surprise raids in each of the 60 jails spread across the state.

No sooner than a batch of security personnel entered a particular barrack, they were attacked with rods, bricks, belts and anything else that the inmates could lay their hands on.

While one prisoner and jail guard were killed in the clash, two others prisoners and another jail guard succumbed to their injuries in a hospital in Lucknow, sources said.

The jail superintendent, who had assumed charge only a few weeks back, was also injured along with two other personnel.

Pitched battle continued between the two sides for more than an hour until armed policemen arrived on the scene and brought the situation under control.

"The cops had to open fire to contain the violence in which one jail inmate died," said Home Secretary Javeed Ahmad.

"You name the luxury and you would find it in quite a few jails of UP," he remarked.

Not only liquor, cigarettes and the best of outside foods, but even stuff like narcotics were recovered by raiding parties in some of the jails where the raid was carried out so far.

"Yes, we have found that everything -- even blue films were being made available to influential and moneyed undertrials -- for a price," said the official.

Besides, televisions, DVD players, cigarette lighters, stoves and to top it all cell phones were also seized from some places.

The jails raided so far were in Lucknow, Sultanpur, Kanpur, Etawah, Varanasi, Faizabad, Meerut, Mirzapur, Ghaziabad and some of their adjoining districts. More districts were to follow over the coming days.

The raiding teams had recovered prohibited material in 23 of the state's 60 jails.

He saw this as a result of 'blatant nexus between jail security personnel and the inmates.'

What left the authorities dumbstruck was the presence of contraband material in the Lucknow district jail that is regarded as the most well administered of all UP prisons.

While a detailed report of the raids together with recoveries made was being prepared, the government is all set to take stern action against the functionaries including some senior jail officials.

"Sure enough the kind of things that were found inside the barracks of many jails, were not possible without the active connivance of those who are supposed to enforce the law in jails," he added
Polly Wilson in Lucknow