NEW DELHI: Director General (Prisons) Sanjay Baniwal, on Wednesday has proposed relocating hardened criminals from outside Delhi who are currently held at the high-security prison for committing minor offenses in the national capital.In an interview to a news agency, Baniwal said that in an effort to alleviate overcrowding and reduce violence among inmates at Delhi’s Tihar jail, a proposal has been made to the city government, emphasising the importance of transferring undertrial prisoners to alternate correctional facilities.
Baniwal, who assumed the role of DG (Prisons) in 2022, highlighted the incongruity of having individuals with a history of major crimes committed outside Delhi detained in Tihar for relatively minor offenses they committed within the city. This situation exacerbates the existing problem of overcrowding in the facility.
Delhi currently maintains three prison complexes: Tihar, Mandoli, and Rohini. Baniwal also advocated for the use of video conferencing for court productions to prevent prisoners from interacting with each other and potentially forming alliances within the jails. Despite stringent security measures in place, instances of prisoner interaction occur during court appearances, particularly when they congregate at entrance points or travel together in vans, increasing the risk of unwanted interactions.
Furthermore, Baniwal pointed out that some inmates possess a proclivity for planning escapes, posing a significant challenge for prison authorities. Consequently, he proposed the adoption of video conferencing as a superior alternative. The high court has recently endorsed the use of video conferencing for various legal proceedings, including court appearances, witness examinations, e-filing, and virtual meetings with lawyers.
Addressing security concerns within the prison, Baniwal mentioned that prison staff are not permitted to carry weapons while interacting with inmates. To better handle potential inmate disturbances, training programs have been initiated to equip personnel with the necessary skills to manage inmate mobs, particularly those in possession of anti-riot gear. He cited a previous incident where a gangster, Tillu Tajpuriya, was killed by assailants inside Tihar jail, emphasizing the need for preparedness and effective security measures.