Jail inmate calls new jail minister up in Punjab

Jail inmate calls new jail minister up in Punjab

Congratulatory phone calls on being elevated as a minister is not uncommon, but Punjab’s new jail minister, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, got calls greeting him from none other than two inmates.

Randhawa was made a minister in Amarinder Singh's cabinet last week. A day later, he got congratulatory calls from two inmates from prisons in the state.

The minister has admitted to getting one call and has even admitted that he knew the caller.

Randhawa, however, thought it unwise to reveal the identity of the caller.

The incident exposes the state of Punjab jails. Prisons in the state are notorious for unlawful activities that take place within.

There have often been reports of gangsters and hardened criminals misusing mobile phones, internet technology and social media to threaten people from inside jails. 

Interestingly, sources said, an inquiry into the use of mobile phones by jail inmates has not been ordered. The minister is believed to have taken the development casually as he knew the caller.

"Yes, the caller was known to me. Why would he call me had he not known me?” the minister said, adding that he got the call from the jail inmate the day he was sworn in, even as his portfolio was yet to be announced. 

Popular Punjabi songs have for long flaunted the notoriety of gangsters exerting their clout even from behind bars by being able to use mobile phones to communicate with the outside world. 

The new jail minister, however, maintained that mobile phones inside jails are a menace and the latest state-of-the-art jammers are needed to stem the rot. Upgrading jammers to 4G technology is a project pending with the Centre, he said.

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