Overcrowded UP jails turn graveyard for criminals

Overcrowded UP jails turn graveyard for criminals

The Bhagpat district jail where mafia don Munna Bajarangi was killed. (ANI File Photo)

The overcrowded jails of Uttar Pradesh (UP) are slowly turning into a graveyard for notorious criminals and high-profile undertrials.

And this is allegedly happening due to the nexus between the police and mafia dons, and political patronage.

The killing of mafia don Munna Bajarangi, who had allegedly gunned down BJP MLA Krishnanad Rai a few years ago inside the district jail in Baghpat, is not an isolated incident. Earlier, similar killings have taken place inside the jails of the state.

According to sources, around a dozen criminals and high-profile undertrials have been killed inside different jails in the state in the past few years, exposing chinks in the security system as well as connivance of the cops with the criminals.

In 2016, notorious criminal Sukkha was stabbed to death inside Saharanpur district jail. A year before that, Akshoy Solanki was shot dead in Mathura district jail.

Former chief medical officer Y S Sachan, an accused in the multi-crore National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scam, was found hanging in the jail a few years ago.

"Overcrowding and nexus between cops and criminals are the key reasons behind such killings," a senior police officer told DH.

According to sources, the jails in the state currently house around 97,000 inmates against the capacity of 58,000. There is also an acute shortage of jail guards.

Sources said that over 4,000 posts of jail guards are vacant. Besides, only 24 of the 71 jails have CCTV cameras.

The officials also said that the criminals enjoy "political patronage". "It is not possible for someone to get hold of a pistol and shoot a criminal inside the jail....some criminals certainly enjoy political patronage," said a former UP police chief.

Incidentally, Bajarangi's wife Seema Singh had a few days ago apprehended threat to her husband's life and sought security for him. Bajarangi's family demanded a CBI probe into the killing.

They held BJP MLA Alka Rai responsible for the killing along with some senior BJP leaders, including a Union minister. Bajarangi had been involved in around 40 murders besides cases of extortion. Rai's wife Alka said that she felt "relieved" after Bajarangi's killing.

The UP government has formed a committee to look into the security system in the jails and give suggestions to strengthen it.

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