Deekshith D V
Pics: Joshwa D'Souza
Daijiworld Media Network - Mangaluru
Mangaluru, Dec 2: It is exactly a month since the double murder in the district prison shook Mangaluru and the state, forcing the government as well as the prisons department to wake up and take serious note of the inadequacies in the jail. In the incident that occured on November 2, Madoor Isubu and his associate Ganesh Shetty, both with links to the underworld, were murdered, reportedly by different groups of inmates. The police said that the murders were pre-planned, and that the murder weapons were thrown into the jail premises from the outside.
Following the incident, one of the immediate steps taken by the government was suspension of the then jail superintendent Obaleshappa and a few wardens, and appointment of V Krishnamurthy as the new jail superintendent. In an exclusive interview to daijiworld, Krishnamurthy spoke on various issues related to the jail and the changes that have taken places since the incident.
V Krishnamurthy has worked in different capacities in Bengaluru and Mysuru jails for two terms each, and also in jails at Dharwad, Mandya and Hassan.
DW: Do you think the double murders inside the premises of Mangaluru district jail were due to failure of security and administration in the prison?
Krishnamurthy: The then superintendent had taken adequate measures to prevent clashes by transferring eight rival groups of inmates from this jail to various others jails in the state. This incident took place due to shortage of staff in the jail, though terming it as a security lapse is not wrong.
DW: What is the present capacity of the jail?
Krishnamurthy: There is provision for 200 male and 10 female inmates, but presently there are 359 inmates. Before this incident took place, there were 427.
DW: Under the present condition, how many personnel do you require to maintain security in the jail?
Krishnamurthy: The prescribed staff-inmate ratio is still the same as that in 1904 when the Mangaluru jail was established. Today, the proportion of inmates is larger, hence, there is a need to increase the staff accordingly.
We require at least 15 staff in one shift, and there are three such shifts. There is a severe shortage of staff. After this incident ADGP Kamal Pant had deputed five staff from various jails to Mangaluru jail. So with their help, security is being maintained efficiently.
The ADGP has also deputed 26 personnel of the Karnataka Industrial Security Force (KISF) to Mangaluru jail. They will be reporting here within a week.
DW: What would be the role of KISF personnel in Mangaluru jail?
Krishnamurthy: They will be monitoring the entire jail from the outside. There will be sensitive points identified to depute the KISF personnel. This identification has already been done.
DW: There is a serious allegation that ganja, mobile phones, SIM cards and weapons sneak into the jail through lunch packets provided to the jail inmates by their families. If it is true, what measures have been taken to prevent this?
Krishnamurthy: There is a provision to bring food to inmates. Now we are strictly and effectively examining the food packets carried to the inmates. Food packets are checked at four points before they reach the hands of inmates.
We are also conducting effective searches inside the jail barracks and regularly go on rounds in the premises. After I took over as superintendent, even the premises of the old jail which were filled with weeds have been completely cleared.
DW: What are the basic amenities required for a jail to function efficiently?
Krishnamurthy: First of all, most importantly, there should be proper arrangements in place to take inmates to the court for hearing or to produce them in the court. Presently, it is not being done in an effective manner due to lack of escorts. If this problem is solved, the jail administration can function in the right manner.
Higher police officers have been extending good support, but even they are facing staff shortage. When undertrials are sent to the court with adequate arrangements, half our problem will be solved. This should be done on priority.
We have got only 60 percent of the required escort strength to take inmates to the court. I have also sent a detailed report on this to the principal additional and sessions court judge.
DW: Have you taken any measures to control the repeated incidents of clashes among the inmates?
Krishnamurthy: The notorious inmates who were involved in the murders have already been transferred to various other jails in the state. Now the situation in the jail is entirely under control.
There is communal harmony in jail. There are Hindus in Muslim-dominated barracks and Muslims in Hindu-dominated barracks. There is no problem regarding harmony.
DW: The weapon used for the murder was tossed from outside the jail. What steps have you taken to prevent this from happening again?
Krishnamurthy: Presently, a home guard has been deployed to monitor the spot where the weapon got tossed in. When personnel are deployed in each corner - near the jail wall and premises - it would be easy to identify when a weapon is tossed into the jail.
Also, the tree branches that were inclining towards the jail have been cut under the initiative of range forest officer. The other side of the branches will also be chopped off soon. The electric fencing on the compound wall of the old jail will be repaired very soon.
DW: There were allegations that a couple of the jail staff had assisted in the murder. How will you monitor the staff in the jail? Do you think the staff are working efficiently?
Krishnamurthy: I have motivated my staff to work efficiently. Any staff who involves in illegal activities will not be spared. Appropriate action will be taken after bringing it to the notice of ADGP Kamal Pant. I will do everything in my power and I will not hesitate in suspending anyone found to be involved in illegal activities. I will improve the administration. This apart, the coordination between all the departments concerned is good.
DW: There is no CCTV camera in the old jail. Has the department taken any initiative to install CCTVs in the entire jail?
Krishnamurthy: There were three CCTVs in the new jail, but the inmates broke them during the clash. There are no CCTVs in the old jail. A departmental committee formed under the guidance of ADGP (prisons) Kamal Pant has decided to install 33 CCTV cameras at sensitive points in the jail, and it will be done soon. The proposal is with the government at the moment. Also, mobile jammers will be installed in a few days.
DW: Have you brought your demands to the notice of your higher officers?
Krishnamurthy: Yes, the existing problems in the jail have been brought to the notice of principal additional and sessions court judge Uma M G, ADGP (prisons) Kamal Pant and other police officers in writing.
On the existing water problem I have already spoken to commissioner of Mangaluru City Corporation. The commissioner has assured to drill an additional borewell and also provide extra line of corporation water connection. The water pipeline has blocked and we have already informed the PWD officials, who said they would repair it. The water problem will be solved. There were no proper electric lights in the entire jail premises, including the old jail. The ADGP took the intiative and sanctioned them, and now the entire jail has electric lights.
DW: What about the health needs of the inmates? Does the jail have enough facilities to look after the sick inmates?
Krishnamurthy: With 360 inmates in jail, at least five suffer from fever, headache, skin problem or other issues on a daily basis. We have also organized a skin disease detection camp. When there is shortage of escorts it is difficult to take the sick inmates to hospital, but with the help of my staff, I have been able to do so. Providing medical assistance is very important. Inmates should get every basic facilities.
DW: There are plans to shift the jail to Konaje. Tell us something about that.
Krishnamurthy: I am thankful to the city corporation commissioner and the deputy commissioner who have assured of providing land for new jail. We have already surveyed and earmarked about 68 acres of land in Konaje. Once it is handed over, we will start the work.
- Mangaluru: Jail murders - Cop suspended for allowing undertrial to speak to media
- Mangaluru: Four arrested for jail murders, Sec 144 to continue in Ullal, Suratkal
- Mangaluru: Madoor Isubu's family stakes claim for hefty compensation
- After murders, recovery of knives, 16 prisoners shifted to other jails
- Mangaluru: Two days after gang war, police find 6 knives, 16 mobile phones in jail
- Bengaluru: Ramanath Rai demands Home Dept probe into gang war in jail
- Mangaluru: Murder in jail was pre-planned, case filed against five: Alok Mohan
- Mangaluru: Media photographers attacked by Isubu supporters, union condemns incident
- Mangaluru: Jails no more safe havens for criminals facing life threats
- Mangaluru: Major clash erupts in jail - Madoor Isubu, another inmate dead, 12 injured