Pepper sprays and electric batons to quell fights between inmates at Tihar as authorities take a non-lethal approach
In response to criticism over the shocking death of Sunil Balyan, alias Tillu Tajpuria, inside the high-security Tihar jail facility in New Delhi, allegedly at the hands of rival gang members, authorities have announced the acquisition of tasers and pepper spray to ward off unruly inmates. the report said on Thursday.
In the initial phase, three prison complexes will be equipped with 80 electric batons (tasers), 160 full body protectors, 80 pepper spray and 160 T batons, according to a Indian times article.
While concerns about overuse have been raised, these non-lethal tools are known for their effectiveness in subduing criminals without causing fatal damage around the world, he said. The measure aims to improve the safety of prison staff while ensuring the well-being of inmates.
“We transferred the proposal 15 days ago to the corresponding authority,” said a quoted official, adding that so far they have acquired 160 (each) polycarbonate lathes, shields, and helmets. “The acquisition will be done soon, and according to the capacity of the prison complexes, it will be delivered to the staff and members of the QRT,” he said.
Corrections officials told the publication that the tasers would be a transformative tool in maintaining law and order within correctional facilities and curbing the activities of rogue offenders. Since altercations involving multiple inmates pose significant challenges, officials emphasize that tasers would provide a vital means of controlling such situations without resorting to firearms, they said.
Meanwhile, in a bid to improve security measures inside jails, the Union Home Office has instructed central jails to develop a biometric system to monitor inmates, replacing traditional physical counts, it said. a CNN-News18 report earlier in the day. In addition, the ministry has urged the exploration of a hybrid model to separate prison administration and security responsibilities.
According to CNN-News18 reports, most central jails in several states are in the process of implementing biometric systems to ensure accurate attendance and tracking of inmates, as a supplement to physical counts. Prison authorities in all states are considering the proposed separation of administration and security tasks, with prison staff overseeing administration while external security forces handle prison security on a rotating basis.
These directives have been shared with state police chiefs and prison directors, prompted by concerns about reported incidents of violence and security breaches in prisons across the country.
In recent incidents that have shocked the nation, Tihar jail, one of Asia’s largest prison complexes, witnessed gruesome stabbing deaths of suspected gang members. In a very disturbing crime caught on camera, Sunil Balyan aka Tillu Tajpuriya was mercilessly stabbed to death by rival gang members. Shockingly, several jail officials were accused of silently watching the brutal act, leading to the suspension of nine staff members following a departmental investigation. Another suspected gangster, Prince Tewatia, met the same fate in early April inside the highly fortified prison.
The deaths in Tihar follow the 2021 incident at Uttar Pradesh’s Chitrakoot jail, in which two people fell victim to gun violence, believed to be related to ongoing gang rivalries. One of the victims was a close associate of jailed gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari.
Data from the National Bureau of Criminal Records on prisons highlight a worrying trend. Inmate deaths in Indian jails increased by 12.1%, with a total of 2,116 deaths reported in 2021 compared to 1,887 in 2020. Among these, 185 deaths were classified as unnatural, including suicides, murders by fellow prisoners , accidents, attacks by external elements, and cases of negligence.