Gang violence in Delhi’s Tihar jail is not uncommon, but has been significantly rising in the past few
years. Another unfortunate incident happened on the premises of the jail; the eruption of a gang war,
but the situation has only been getting worse than ever before.
In a nutshell: On Tuesday, two prisoner gangs, one from Delhi and one from the state of Haryana, got
into a brutal fight over the matter of dominance over the drug trade in the jail. The fight ended with
one of the inmates being stabbed and another getting badly injured. The gang from Haryana (Binder
Gujjar Gang, or BG) was attempting to establish its dominance, if not monopoly, in the drug trade on
the premises of the jail.
But the Delhi-based gang of Rajesh Bawania was already the dominant controller of the same. This was a pyromaniac for the fight that erupted between the two gangs and continued until the jail authorities could control it.
This incident not only points out the inability of prison authorities to keep inmates under control but also shows how the jail has been unable to keep
drugs and illegal substances out.
- History of gang violence in Tihar: Tihar jail, one of the largest in South Asia, houses a mammoth number of prisoners from various parts of the country, many of whom are known to be involved in multiple criminal gangs. Gang violence has been happening since then, the first instance of which was in 1986, when a prisoner was murdered by his fellow prisoners.
- Since then, criminal incidents have been seen to be common every year, involving murders, fights, and drug trafficking at times. Gangs inside the jail are often formed along the lines of region, caste, or religion and are known to compete for monopolies over several illegal activities, like drug trafficking in the current case.
III. The Incident
Less than a month after a rival gang stabbed a gangster, Prince Tewatia, to death, another inmate,
Sunil ‘Tillu’ Tajpuria, was stabbed over a hundred times by his fellow prisoners – Rajesh Bawania,
Yogesh Tunda, Deepak Teeter, and Riyaz Khan.
The assailants cut open the security grilles of Tajpuria’s ward, rappelled him from the first floor using bedsheets, and then fired an artillery of stabs on him. A fellow inmate, Rohit Rohtas, tried to save him, or at least keep him from being attacked any more, but got himself stabbed as well.
The two tried to run and shut themselves in a cell, but having had their fingers stabbed, it wasn’t easy for them to do so. Following that, Tajpuria was dragged out of the cell and was stabbed everywhere, including his eyes.
The jail authorities, surprisingly, could do nothing about it. In fact, the security grilles of Tajpuria’s
ward were cut a few days ago, but unusually, the jail authorities never noticed it. In the following 10
minutes, a group of personnel from the Tamil Nadu Special Police reached the scene of the incident,
tried to control the situation, and got Tajpuria covered in a bed sheet.
Apprehensive that he might still be alive, the assailants started stabbing him again after removing the bed sheet. This cold-blooded murder was witnessed by the personnel, who then took Tajpuria to DDU Hospital, where he was declared dead when brought in.
IV. Aftermath and Way Forward
The biggest questions that arise here are – are our jails performing their duties of crime deterrence,
retribution, and individual prevention, or are they becoming no less than fight clubs for criminals?
And when all of this was happening, why did the authorities take so long to reach the area?
Additionally, the ward security grilles are 5 inches thick. How did the assailants manage to cut
through it without getting caught?
This raises grave concerns about the kind of surveillance and security measures that are supposed to be followed in our prisons. The jail has about 7,500 CCTV cameras, but still, the authorities took a long time to reach the scene. They have expressed how they replaced steel plates with melamine ones to keep the prisoners from improvising them into sharp weapons. But now, prisoners are using metal rods from window grilles and exhaust fan blades for the same, as told by the authorities themselves. This is a problem that needs to be looked into by the authorities as soon as possible.
Tihar jail has had the problem of overcrowding for an unhealthy amount of time now. The same goes
for its issues concerning prison conditions, drug trafficking, murders, gang wars, and regular violence.
It is high time that authorities pay attention to the same and bring about well-tested measures to
control the situation.