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Cell security lies on razor’s edge

A surprise raid at Dhanbad Divisional Jail early on Monday yielded a number of banned items ranging from razors and scissors to SIM cards, baring the lax security at the prison that houses 1,250 inmates, including Naxalites.

The seizure comes a couple of days after two prisoners were caught with six SIM cards while entering Ranchi’s Birsa Munda Central Jail. Karma Oraon (32) and Narayan Adhikari (28) would often land behind bars for loot, extortion and even rape, suggesting that they used to supply SIMs to criminals lodged there.

The raid at Dhanbad jail was conducted by a mammoth team of district officials and policemen, led by deputy commissioner Prashant Kumar and superintendent of police Ravi Kant Dhan. The other team members included ADM (law and order) B.P.L. Das, DSP (law and order) Amit Kumar, DSP R.N. Sharma, officer in charge of Dhanbad police station Vijay Kant Singh, his Bank More counterpart S.S. Tiwari and around 150 men and women constables.

The inspection army swooped on the jail premises around 6.15am and scoured all 24 male wards, two female wards, hospital, kitchen, verandah, garden, office of the superintendent and around 60 toilets for over three hours.

The thorough search did yield result as an array of questionable items were found — two SIM cards, half a dozen shaving razors, 20 shaving blades, around half a kilo of tobacco (khaini), 10 packets of cigarettes filled with ganja, around 50 pieces of iron nails, a match box, a nail cutter, at least six scissors and a knife.

Later, DC Kumar said they had information that mobile phones were being used behind bars, along with other banned items.

“As of now, we have recovered two SIM cards but the number might go up once we open the boxes that we have seized from the prison premises. Several other objectionable items might be present in them. We will make a list of the seized articles,” he added.

The DC further said that weekly searches were a must at all jails and the Dhanbad prison authorities had been asked to do so.

Jailor Satyendra Chaudhary said: “Though we conduct searches across the jail once a week, we will increase the frequency to prevent entry of banned items.”

He, however, added that some of the seized items like tobacco were allowed on the premises while nails were used as hooks for drying clothes.

The team also took stock of videoconferencing facilities at the jail so that interaction between inmates and their relatives could be arranged through Pragya Kendras or Common Service Centre from time to time.


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