As videos of jailed Delhi minister Satyendra Jain in Tihar jail tumble out at a regular frequency, the Uttar Pradesh government has decided to intensify surveillance of VVIP prisoners lodged in the state jails.
According to official sources, a round-the-clock video vigil has been stepped up across all 72 jails and sub-jails in the state.
These include Naini Central Jail, Lucknow jail, Gautam Buddha Nagar jail and other jails where notorious criminals, terror suspects, a former minister and other VVIPs are lodged.
Prison officials have been asked not to allow anything inside jails apart from items prescribed in the Jail Manual.
Officials at prison administration and reform services headquarters stated that directions have been issued for intensifying monitoring in prisons across the state.
The government spokesman said, “Prison officials have been asked to maintain a list of politicians, bureaucrats, mafias, dreaded gangsters and terror suspects lodged in their jails and intensify vigil on their activities to ensure that no special facility is provided to them.”
UP jails have been known for notorious activities of inmates in the past.
The murder of jailed gangster Munna Bajrangi by another gangster Sunil Rathi in July 2018 and the killing of three gangsters during a shootout in Chitrakoot jail on May 2021 are examples of criminals continuing their activities inside the jails.
A businessman was kidnapped by Atiq Ahmad’s henchmen and taken to the Deoria jail, where he was tortured in April 2019.
Besides, videos of inmates partying, consuming liquor and making extortion calls from inside jails have also gone viral in the past.
Jailor Rajendra Singh said that in Lucknow jail, several VVIPs, including former cabinet minister Gayatri Prajapati, gangster-turned-politician Atiq Ahmad’s son Umar, gangster Sanjeev Maheshwari, police personnel accused in many cases, over 24 activists of Popular Front of India and five Pakistani terror accused are lodged in the district jail that houses around 3,500 prisoners.
Similarly, Naini Central Jail has around 4,300 prisoners, which include terror suspects from Jammu and Kashmir and other parts of the country, naxals, mafias, gangsters, psycho serial killers, etc.
Besides, many political leaders are also lodged in Naini Central Jail in different cases against them. The list includes former Phulpur MP Kapil Muni Karwaria and his younger brother (former MLC) Surajbhan Karwaria. Ghosi MP Atul Rai and former minister Angad Yadav are also lodged in this jail.
R.K. Singh, jailor at Naini Central Jail, said security arrangements were being ensured for prisoners as per the Jail Manual. A list of such prisoners is being maintained and verified. The administration has lodged them in separate barracks.
Mukhtar Ansari’s son Abbas Ansari (MLA) is lodged in Chitrakoot Jail on security grounds.
Earlier, five district jails, including Lucknow, Gautam Buddha Nagar, Azamgarh, Chitrakoot and Bareilly, had already been equipped with advanced facilities to keep 24×7 surveillance.
Arrangements ranging from drone cameras to deep search metal detectors have been installed in these prisons, said the government spokesman.
“In addition to it, night-vision binoculars and hand-held metal detectors have been provided to these five prisons,” he added.
He further stated that 48 additional high megapixel CCTV cameras have been installed in the district prison of Lucknow.
“Live feed of all district prisons can be accessed at the headquarters. FG-1 pole metal detection system has been installed in all prisons to monitor detainees,” added the spokesman.