Police avert riot in Gurdaspur jail as irate inmates threaten arson
Gurdaspur: Police averted a riot in Central Jail here after some inmates threatened to put on fire prison jammers and a watch tower on Tuesday morning.The situation was brought under control after SSP Harcharan Singh Bhullar, accompanied by senior officers, reached the prison around 6 am following an SOS by jail superintendent Karamjit Singh Sandhu. Sandhu had asked for reinforcements after an early morning search by him and his staff angered the prisoners.The search was ordered by Jails Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa after he received a tip-off claiming that mobile phones were being used in jail. This was the third such search ordered by the minister in the past fortnight.The inmates were incensed over the repeated raids. Days ago, 15 handsets, hidden under the bathroom tiles, were found, leading to the suspension of jail superintendent Randhir Singh Uppal and deputy Arvinder Singh Bhatti.On Tuesday morning, Sandhu and his staff met with resistance from prisoners of barrack 8. The inmates started raising slogans after they came to know that the jail staff would conduct a search. They also started inciting prisoners lodged in other barracks to come out and start a riot. The situation threatened to go out of hand forcing Sandhu to call up the SSP.Some prisoners gathered on the top floor of the barrack and threatened to burn jammers and watch towers. In the melee, someone started a minor fire which led to rumours and all-round confusion.A reserve battalion was stationed outside the jail just in case the situation turned violent.Three handsets were found from barrack 8 bringing the total number of sets recovered in the past fortnight to 18. SSP Bhullar and DSP (City) Gurbans Singh Bains remained on the premises for more than two hours.ADGP (Prisons) Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota has asked DIG (Jails) Surinderpal Singh Saini to inspect the jail and submit a report to him.The premises was in controversy last year too when a few gangsters threatened to explode an LPG cylinder in an attempt to divert the attention of the authorities from a group of inmates who were busy creating an opening in the 13-inch thick outer wall of the jail.Then ADGP (Jails) Rohit Chowdhury and IG (Border) Naunihal Singh called in reinforcements from adjoining police districts and brought things under control.Meanwhile, the Jails Minister said he had initiated a probe into the sequence of events leading to the unrest.