New Delhi | In wake of the murder of top gangster Tillu Tajpuriya, who was stabbed over 90 times by assailants inside the Tihar Jail premises, the Delhi High Court on Thursday questioned jail authorities on lack of steps to prevent the crime in time.
The incident was captured in the CCTV cameras installed inside the jail. The disturbing footage had sparked significant concerns about the level of security within the Tihar Jail and the apparent lack of action on the part of officials to curb violence.
Tajpuriya, a resident of Tajpur Kalan on the outskirts of Delhi, was lodged in Tihar Jail under tight security measures on the ground floor of Jail number 8.
A bench of Justice Jasmeet Singh, hearing a plea by Tajpuriya’s father and brother seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe in the murder and also protection to them, asked Additional Standing Counsel Rahul Tyagi representing the state: “What bothers me is that it is being watched on CCTV cameras. How can the police take so much time that it can’t be stopped while the incident is taking place?”
As Justice Singh asked if the policemen inside the jail can be armed to ensure safety of the prisoners, Tyagi said: "The rationale is that there are about 20,000 inmates housed in the jail. It is against the jail manual to carry any arms inside jail premises. Now we are making a QRT, we are going to arm them. We have to take it. I know this is a brutal incident but our reaction should not be immediate. Let's take a cool and calculative decision... Hard cases make bad laws. It should not get into a knee jerk reaction."
However, Justice Singh said: "This is not acceptable. It is not about knee jerk reaction... The reaction has to commensurate with the offence, no? Is it commensurate with the offence?"
Tyagi then gave the court the assurance that all of the prisoners involved in the murder had been apprehended and that any other people present outside the jail would also face the same consequences.
"The surveillance area is 600 metres away from jail. So every time the person will have to go from surveillance area to the jail which is 600 metres away," he replied as the court asked if the policemen have walkie-talkies.
"Why do we have to wait for an incident to happen and then we say that hard cases make bad laws and knee-jerk reactions? How is it fair? Think about it from a rational person's point of view. You have prison which is 600 metres away from the surveillance. The idea of surveillance is to see movement of prisoners. The moment an incident is taking place, at best, the officer will run (towards the jail). He does not have a walkie talkie. It is unacceptable. Something that you've to find out," Justice Singh said.
Tyagi stated that steps are being taken by the authorities to immediately alter the correctional system.
At this, the court said: "We should not have to wait for an incident to evoke a response. Look at the recovery that you made from surprise checks. Does it not show the potential of such incidents?"
"It shakes my judicial conscience," Justice Singh responded when Tyagi apprised the court that the inmates made the knives that were found on them using only things found inside the jail, such as fans, and nothing was from the outside.
In the previous hearing on May 8, the court had said: "This is totally an unacceptable state of affairs. The security of every prisoner is on the respondent and it (court) is unable to comprehend if the entire incident was captured in CCTV installed in jail, why no steps were taken when the incident was happening."
Tajpuriya was an accused in the 2021 Rohini court shootout in which rival gangster Jitender Gogi was killed.
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