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Deccan Herald » National » Full Story

Hardwar jail in a sorry state

The Roshanabad jail in Hardwar has a shocking track record of security and the administration is also lax. Criminals manage to escape at will.

Not many would remember Roshanabad jail in the holy city of Hardwar. The jail gained notoriety three years back in the sensational Phoolan Devi murder case after investigators found that someone else impersonating as the prime accused Sher Singh Rana was lodged in the prison cell on the day when the former bandit queen was shot dead on July 25, 2001.

The jail now comes under fresh scrutiny after Rana escaped from the high security Tihar jail raising doubt about its security arrangements. “If Rana can escape from Tihar, then god can only protect the Hardwar jail,” a police official commented.
According to jail officials, there are only 60 security personnel manning the jail premises. Safety standards of the jail, however, say that it requires a strength of 127 security personnel. Most of the security personnel are also ill-equipped, they admit.

There is no watch tower in the Roshanabad jail. And during nights, most of the security guards are on duty under mercury lights only.

Moreover, the jail is also overflowing with inmates. There are presently 603 inmates lodged in Roshanabad jail which has a capacity to accommodate only 540. In March, 2002, three jail guards were suspended after a top gangster was caught red handed with a mobile and of Rs 5,000 in cash. “Although there were reports that women were being supplied inside the jail. We have not found any proof so far,” DIG Hardwar Ashok Kumar told Deccan Herald.

In a petition filed before the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), J P Pandey, a social activist, alleged that liquor flows in the jail like water. Citing the case of Sher Singh Rana, Mr Pandey alleged that several jail prisoners including the dreaded criminal Ram Pal had escaped at their will.

Surprisingly, no heads were rolled when it was found that one Shravan Kumar, a criminal from Bihar had posed himself as a proxy man in place of Rana at a time when Phoolan Devi was gunned down.

Although NHRC has issued notices to the Uttaranchal government, the case is still hanging fire.

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