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Camera watch on lock-ups

All 840 police stations in Bihar would have closed-circuit television cameras to keep an eye on the activities in lock-ups.

Each of the two police stations in Patna — Kotwali and Gandhi Maidan — have got two such cameras installed, one at the lock-up and the other at the front wall of the police stations as a pilot project. Additional director-general (headquarters) Ravinder Kumar confirmed: “Yes, it is a pilot project as of now.”

He added: “One police station in the headquarters of each of the districts will get CCTV cameras in the lock-ups. In Patna, two police stations have been selected and two cameras have been installed in each of the stations. The aim is to monitor the lock-ups. The cameras have the night-mode vision and recording facilities. Based on the reports of the pilot project, more such cameras would be installed.”

Sources said the monitoring screens for the cameras were being fixed at the police stations. Patna senior superintendent of police Amrit Raj said the aim was to ensure that nothing untoward happens in the lock-ups.

According to the figures compiled by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Bihar recorded 413 “custodial deaths” between 2008-09 and 2010-11 (March). Maharashtra topped the list of custodial deaths with 419 cases. The NHRC has framed guidelines for reporting all custodial deaths as natural or otherwise within 24 hours of their occurrence and it also prepares reports to ascertain any foul play by police and government officers.

According to Section 176 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the district administration is required to conduct mandatory judicial inquiry in case of death, disappearance or rape of an inmate and conduct a thorough medical examination within 24 hours in case of death, a senior police officer associated with the state’s human rights cell said.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau, 781 inmates died in Bihar jails between 2004 and 2009.

Jail courses

Several traditional and vocational courses would be introduced at all 56 jails in the state, said inspector-general of police (prisons and reform services) Anand Kishor on Friday.