Authorities regain control of Varanasi jail, official released

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Lucknow, April 3 (IANS) Security forces on Saturday regained control of the Varanasi jail and secured the safe release of jail superintendent Ashish Tiwari.

Tiwari was taken hostage by the inmates, who were protesting bad quality food and corruption, and locked up in one of the barracks. The prisoners pelted stones on police and Provincial Armed Constabulary when they tried to enter the premises to bring the situation, which rapidly deteriorated since afternoon, under control.

When district officials contacted the agitated prisoners on the jail superintendent’s cell phone, the prisoners said that they were irked at the quality of food being served to them and accused prison authorities of torturing them and seeking bribes to give them basic facilities.

When district officials tried to pacify them and engage them in taks, they refused and instead sought intervention of district Samajwadi Party (SP) president Satish Fauji.

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But with Fauji away to Lucknow, the talks were initiated by city SP president Raj Kumar Jaiswal, who said that there problems will be looked into by the state government. More than 1,800 prisoners were inside the jail when rioting took place and police brought in metal cutters to get into the premises.

District Magistrate Raj Mani Yadav said situation was now under control and that problems raised by the prison inmates would be looked into. Condition of prison official Ajay Rai, who was severly roughed up by the agitating prisoners, is said to be serious and he is undergoing treatment at the BHU trauma centre.

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