Chandigarh, September 2, 2020 (Yes Punjab News)
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today said after the NCRB Report-2019 rating Punjab jails with having the highest cases of abuse besides jail escapes and unnatural deaths, chief minister Capt Capt Amarinder Singh should sack Jails minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa immediately and take steps to cleanse the jail system in the State.
In a statement here, senior leader Maheshinder Singh Grewal said the NCRB report had only asserted what was common knowledge – that Punjab jails were the worst run in the country and were a den for gangsters. He said the report had highlighted that the State had the highest cases of human rights abuses besides being in the top three categories with regard to jail escape, parole jump, custodial suicide and unnatural deaths.
“The report itself is enough reason for Mr Sukhjinder Randhawa to submit his resignation on moral grounds but seeing his insistence to stick on his chair it is incumbent on the chief minister to take action against him and improve jail administration immediately”.
Mr Maheshinder Grewal said the year 2019, which was analyzed by the Report, had witnessed gangsters operating their mafias from the jail with official patronage. “Dreaded gangster Jaggu Bhagwanpuria, who enjoyed the patronage of the Jails minister, was accused of running extortion rackets from the jail premises by police officers themselves, but no action was taken in the matter. Jaggu was given access to mobile phones and other comforts brazenly flouting all norms. He even executing attacks from inside the jail but no action was taken against him”.
Mr Grewal said besides this there was a case of a jail break in Amritsar even as a prison inmate was killed in the Ludhiana central jail in indiscriminate police firing when the jail administration lost control of the jail. “No independent probe was ordered into any of the two incidents”.
The SAD leader said Punjab also had a dubious record of high-profile murders in jails. He said the main accused in the 548 kg heroin case seizure was murdered in jail as was sacrilege accused Mohinderpal Bittu. He said there was also the case of prisoners being sodomized in the Patiala central jail in order to extort money from their families. “An investigation into the use of mobile phones in Sangrur revealed that gangsters were being provided all services required by them at a price”.
Stating that all these cases as well as the report of the NCRB had indicted the entire jail administration of the State, Mr Grewal said the only way forward was the immediate sacking of the Jails minister. “Simultaneously steps should be taken to cleanse the entire system by bringing in checks and balances and ensuring vigorous monitoring of all jails in the State”.