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'In Tihar nothing happens without authorities' knowledge'

Last updated on: March 13, 2013 14:29 IST

'In Tihar nothing happens without authorities' knowledge'

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Vicky Nanjappa

'Ram Singh was under suicide watch and such prisoners are never left alone.'

'It is impossible for him to have committed suicide,' Professor S A R Geelani, who spent several years in Tihar, tells Rediff.com's Vicky Nanjappa.

The mysterious death of Ram Singh, the prime accused in the December 16, 2012 Delhi gang-rape case, inside Tihar Jail on Monday has raised doubts about security at the high-profile prison.

Delhi University Professor S A R Geelani, who was acquitted in the 2001 Parliament attack case, spent a considerable amount of time in Tihar Jail before being acquitted by the Supreme Court.

Professor Geelani's first person account of an inmate's life inside Tihar Jail:

The moment you enter this prison, you feel as though you are going back to the 13th century.

Based on what I have heard of other jails and when I compare that to my own experience in Tihar Jail, this prison appears to be the worst in the country.

The problem begins with the authorities. The prisoners are made to feel like slaves and each one is at the mercy of the authorities.

I assure you that no untoward incident can ever take place inside Tihar without the knowledge of at least one jail staff member.

The other thing I noticed was the differential treatment among prisoners.

If you are an ordinary citizen, you can expect the worst.

But if you are well-connected politically or have a lot of money, then you can buy your way through to comforts.

I have seen several well-connected people get their way easily in Tihar.

It is hard to believe the kind of gang wars that take place there. Very often, members of rival gangs are lodged in the same cell. Very often, the authorities turn a blind eye to fights between gangs, which is quite a disgusting sight. I have witnessed it several times.

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Image: The Tihar Jail, New Delhi.

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'There exists communal sentiment inside Tihar'

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Security in Tihar is tight. Each prisoner is under constant watch.

The militants are imprisoned in high-security areas and there is not much communication with them. Their cells are very well guarded.

There is ample security for the other inmates as well, and that is why I say nothing untoward can happen without the knowledge of the authorities.

There also exists a communal sentiment inside Tihar Jail. It can get communally charged at times.

In my observation, it is the jail authorities who ignite such feelings.

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Image: Tihar Jail inmates meditate.

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'He could not have killed himself without waking up the other inmates'

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I find it hard to believe that Ram Singh hanged himself.

He was under suicide watch and such prisoners are not left alone, even for a moment.

It is therefore impossible for him to have committed suicide.

I also fail to understand how Singh could have hung himself from the ceiling. Every cell in Tihar has a very high ceiling and it is impossible to reach it.

Let us assume that he managed to reach the ceiling with great difficulty. There would have been a lot of noise and this would have drawn the attention of the authorities.

There were three other inmates with him in that cell. I am sure he could not have killed himself without waking up them up.

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