| Security personnel guard the Sitamarhi jail on Saturday night. Telegraph picture |
Top police and administrative officials of Sitamarhi remained on their toes for the second consecutive day on Sunday after a section of divisional jail inmates made an attempt to break the prison late on Saturday night.
The police had to open fire to bring the situation under control. Two undertrial prisoners — Arun Kumar Bhagat and Jamal Asraf — were injured in the police firing.
Both of them were later operated upon at Shri Krishna Medical College and Hospital, Muzaffarpur.
Inspector-general (Muzaffarpur zone) Parasnath said at least five policemen also suffered injuries in stone pelting by the inmates, who were protesting the jail authorities’ initiative to shift two notorious gangsters — Santosh Kumar Jha and Madhav Choudhary —from Sitamarhi jail.
Parasnath added: “The condition of both the injured inmates is stated to be out of danger. Additional forces from adjoining districts like Muzaffarpur, Sheohar and Vaishali, have rushed to Sitamarhi to restore normality in the jail.”
The unruly prisoners broke open the inner gate of the prison, set the hospital building and furniture in the office of the jail superintendent on fire and damaged the documents stored in the superintendent’s office.
The jail warders were pelted with stones when they intervened to bring the situation under control. The incident had occurred around midnight.
Parasnath said earlier in the day that the supporters of both Jha and Choudhary had clashed over their transfer to Gaya and Buxar central jails, respectively.
They attacked the security personnel as soon as the latter brought the two prisoners outside their wards and asked them to board the prisoners’ van parked on the campus, he added.
The IG added that the supporters of both the dons facing charges of kidnapping, murder and extortion, were not in a mood to relent forcing the security personnel to baton charge. The inmates dispersed only when the police resorted to firing, he said, adding that had the security personnel not opened fire, the situation would have aggravated.
Unconfirmed reports said over 50 rounds were fired to bring the situation under control.
Sitamarhi district magistrate Pratima S. Verma and superintendent of police Nawal Kishore Singh rushed to the spot. Both the senior officials were camping at the site till the situation became normal. “The situation is tense but under control,” Verma told The Telegraph over phone from Sitamarhi.
Doctors at the SKMCH said while Arun received bullet injury in his abdomen, bullets hit Jamal’s waist. The condition of Jamal is critical, a doctor attending on him said. The relatives of both the injured have been informed about the incident.
On Sunday, the inmates were not allowed to move outside their wards as a precautionary measure. The sources said a section of the prisoners refused to take meal to vent their ire against alleged police excess.
“The security men brutally assaulted a few prisoners after confining them in their wards,” said a relative of an undertrial.
Taking a serious view of the matter, inspector-general (prison directorate and correctional services) P.K. Meena has constituted a three-member committee headed by deputy inspector-general (Tirhut range) A.K. Mishra. “The committee would submit its report as early as possible,” Meena said.