Home Minister Araga Jnanendra warns strict action against illegal activities in prisons

Pramesh S Jain & Dr B Thomas (Special correspondent)

State Home Minister Araga Jnanendra gave a surprise visit to Parappana Agrahara Central Prison, here on Tuesday.

The minister visited the high-security barracks and inspected whether mobile phones and other restricted items were allowed.

As per the reports,he has personally inspected and inquired with the police and the jail superintendent whether any illegal activities were carried out in the prison.

Meanwhile,the minister has also visited the women’s cell of the central prison and accessed the information about the various issues faced by the women prisoners.

Home Minister even visited the barracks of Harsha Murder case accused and inquired them how did they got the mobile phones.

Harsha’s sister Ashwini had alleged that the State Home Minister lacked courtesy to even speak to her for 10 minutes when she met him with complaints of Harsha’s murder accused getting royal treatment in prison.

Minister Jnanendra paid a surprise visit to the Central Prison and asked the accused how they managed to get the mobile phone inside the prison. He also inspected high risk barracks.

The ruling BJP, especially Home Minister Araga Jnanendra, came under attack by Hindu organisations and activists after the photos and videos showing the accused enjoying themselves inside the prison went viral.

Reacting to the issue,Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai had stated that a section of the prison authorities seem to be lenient.

Prison authorities had lodged a separate case on the jailed accused in connection with using mobile phone in prison.

Photos and videos showed the accused talking to their family,friends and relatives on video calls leading to a public outrage.

Harsha’s mother had even stated that ‘it is better that the authorities to set them free instead of keeping them in prison,if this is the punishment they are being subjected to’.She has also stated that the system has betrayed their family.

Considering the sensitivity of the issue,Alok Mohan,ADGP of Prisons had shunted out the Central Prison Chief Superintendent of Central Prison,Ranganath and six officers working under him.

Investigations had proved that the accused were using mobile phones in the prison.A separate case had been lodged against them which will attract additional imprisonment up to five years for the offense,said prison authorities.

Harsha was hacked to death by a gang of miscreants on February 20 at the height of the hijab crisis triggering concerns and law and order situation.

Popularly known as Harsha Hindu,Harsha was at the forefront of Hindutva activities and questioned illegal transportation of cows.

He shared fierce Hindutva messages on his social media accounts and also commented on the hijab issue.

The murder has led to widespread violence and threatened to spread all over the state.The ruling BJP had claimed that few organisations are trying to give a message through the murder.

The case is now being probed by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA).

As many as 10 persons have been arrested in connection with the murder so far.Sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA),1967 have been evoked against them.

According to a statement issued by his office, seven people have been booked under various charges in the past one week and four people have also been arrested including two police personnel.

Those held were in possession of a mobile phone,cannabis and psychotropic substance.

The two personnel who were arrested had allegedly let go a new inmate who had hid a mobile phone inside the bandage in his leg,the statement read.

The officials apprised Jnanendra about the security mechanism,problems faced by the prisoners and medical facilities available inside the jail.

Speaking to reporters,the Home Minister said an investigation is on to find out how the killers of Harsha got the phone.In this connection,one person has been arrested.

The Home Minister said a decision was taken to install a mobile jammer inside the jail,so that people cannot use smartphones compatible for 5G network.

Investigation is on into an incident of a football filled with cannabis thrown inside the prison,he said.

Jnanendra said it was brought to his notice that the relatives of the prisoners are being extorted

, for which stringent action will be taken he added.