Delhi: Tihar confirms jail violence by ‘foreign inmates’

Written by Pritam Pal Singh
| New Delhi |

Published: June 30, 2020 6:08:22 am

Delhi government’s Standing Counsel (Criminal) Rahul Mehra, during the hearing on June 24, had denied Narwal’s counsel Adit S Pujari’s contention, and had submitted that he has “instructions to the contrary from no less than Director General (Prisons)”. (File)

Tihar Jail authorities Monday admitted before the Delhi High Court that it is “true” an “untoward” incident happened inside the prison on June 16, after 15-20 foreign inmates created problems over a demand for grant of interim bail.

The averments were made in a status report filed before Justice C Hari Shankar, who had sought to know the stand of jail authorities on Pinjra Tod member Natasha Narwal’s allegation that owing to “large-scale violence” in Tihar, inmates were being prohibited from getting in touch with family members via video conferencing. Narwal is in jail in connection with the anti-CAA Jafrabad sit-in protest.

“The foreign inmates… have been agitating for some time demanding that they should also be considered for…interim bail. Jail authorities have been consistently counselling and briefing them that their cases do not fall under the prescribed criteria for consideration for grant of bail…

“… on June 16 morning, 15-20 foreign inmates created problems in the jail. They forced their way out of the ward and also damaged the locks of gates of wards No. 9 and Chakkar. Sensing trouble and having no other alternative, an alarm was sounded in the jail around 8.30 am, reinforcements were called and these inmates were physically controlled by minimum use of force…,” the status report filed on Monday read.

It further stated that “to curb the movement of inmates and their gathering, telephone facility of inmates was temporally restricted for a few days with effect from June 16 to June 23, though it was allowed wherever found urgent”. The court was informed that telephone facility has been restored since June 24.

Delhi government’s Standing Counsel (Criminal) Rahul Mehra, during the hearing on June 24, had denied Narwal’s counsel Adit S Pujari’s contention, and had submitted that he has “instructions to the contrary from no less than Director General (Prisons)”.

Pujari had mentioned the violence inside jail number 6 during the hearing of Narwal’s plea on June 24, seeking daily access to her lawyer via video conferencing and to carry books and reading material in prison.

Mehra, assisted by advocate Chaitanya Gosain, filed the status report apprising that “13 books and 2 registers have been provided to her”. “That with regard to the phone calls made by the petitioner (Narwal) herein, it is submitted that the petitioner availed facility of calling her family on telephone eight times so far,” the court was told.

Narwal’s counsel argued that as per Delhi Prison Rules, every interview between an undertrial prisoner and his legal adviser shall take place within sight, but out of hearing, of a prison official.

Pujari submitted that the petitioner needs more books and extended video conferencing time of 30 minutes, twice a week.

The status report said that “in reference to submission made by the counsel for the petitioner, it is true that an untoward incident happened on June 16, 2020 at Central Jail No. 6, Tihar”.

It also said the Delhi Prisons has started the facility of “video conferencing of prisoners with visiting panel advocates of the Delhi High Court Legal Services Committee recently, with effect from June 22, for legal aid to prisoners in respect to their cases in Delhi High Court”.

Tihar inmate killed in attack

New Delhi: A 27-year-old man was allegedly stabbed to death inside Tihar Jail No 8 by another inmate Monday. DG (Delhi Prisons) Sandeep Goel said, “An inmate, Zakir (21), attacked Mehtab with a sharp metal object which he picked up from a broken window grill… Mehtab was stabbed five to six times and sustained injuries on his stomach and neck.” He said the accused and the victim knew each other before their convictions. “The accused said the attack was the result of an old rivalry,” said Goel.

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