Pandemonium in Kolkata’s Dum Dum jail: prisoners clash, set fire, many injured

There was pandemonium in Dum Dum Jail – which is a central correctional home in the northern fringes of Kolkata – on Saturday afternoon as prisoners clashed among themselves, attacked prison officials and police and set some areas on fire. They also intended to break open the main gate in order to escape. The clashes left many injured, including the police and prison officials.

The main reason that led to the clashes was not known for certain. Apparently, resentment was brewing among the inmates due to certain restrictions imposed to contain the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). This includes no meeting of family members till March 31, apart from instructions on parole. There was also apparently resentment about the measures taken for the inmates for Coronavirus – they were reportedly unhappy about an alleged inadequate distribution of masks and hand wash.

The government had decided to release some convicted prisoners on parole for reducing crowding inside prisons. The undertrials too started demanding since Saturday morning that they should be released on parole too. The convicts and undertrials apparently clashed among themselves initially, and this took a major turn when the prison authorities tried to intervene.

The prisoners were alleged to have set fire in a part of the jail while others gathered pieces of bricks and prepared to attack. Prisoners even tried to break open the main gate in a bid to escape, but could not reach there, and were able to aim pieces of bricks towards this gate. The fire was later brought under control.

State minister for correctional administration Ujjal Biswas and state minister of fire and emergency services Sujit Bose reached the jail along with top police officers. The jailer and some police personnel were injured in the incident.

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