Convicts face death threats in or out of jail

Not only police stations, but prisons and even prison cells in hospitals are becoming insecure. The death of a 56-year-old man after being allegedly attacked by a co-prisoner at the prison-cell of Thiruvananthapuram Medical College hospital (MCH) recently is the latest instance.

Over the years, there has been a series of incidents of tension among prisoners in various jails. However, no deaths had occurred, except for the death of Sreedharan, 56, of Maranaloor near here on December 20.

The Kannur central jail is notorious for clashes between CPM and RSS prisoners. Even terror-accused Thadiyantavide Nazir was shifted from the Viyyur central jail in Thrissur to the Poojapura central prison in June last year after he complained of threat to his life at Viyyur prison.

The Attakkulangara sub-jail here witnessed frequent fights even between prisoners and jail warders till a couple of years ago.

"With only six warders for every 100 prisoners, we are constrained in ensuring a total trouble-free situation in the prisons. It is a fact that tensions between prisoners take place in the prisoners frequently," says Additional DGP (Prisons) Mr. Alexander Jacob.

He also added that the installation of surveillance cameras on jail premises had brought the situation under control here and Kannur central jail to a certain extent.

Arrest: Meanwhile, the Medical College police on Sunday arrested a history-sheerer, Hakkim alias Gym Hakkim, from his a residence at Poonthura on charges of the murder of Sreedharan.

The latter who was a remand prisoner in an Excise case, died from serious head injuries in the prison cell of MCH on December 20.

Though the initial suspicion was that the injuries were a result of police torture, the Poojapura police has a different version.

"Sreedharan was hospitalised following a suicide bid while undergoing remand at the Poojapura Central prison. He was kept in the prison cell along with three other prisoners, including Hakkim who was held under the Goonda Act. On December 20 evening, Hakkim attacked Sreedharan following a dispute over taking food, which eventually led to the death of the latter," says city police sources.

Since there was no suspicion on Hakkim initially, he was released after his term of preventive detention under the goonda act ended.

During the subsequent inquiry, two other prisoners in the prison cell at MCH revealed the incident.

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