Nepal | May 30, 2020

Round-the-clock surveillance of inmates

Himalayan News Service
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Kathmandu, July 24

The Ministry of Home Affairs said the activities of jailbirds doing time in prisons were closely monitored by security personnel to foil attempts to orchestrate criminal acts from behind bars.

Abhishek Raj Singh, 40, a serial killer, who is serving life sentence in Nakkhu Jail for three counts of murder and one attempted murder in Surkhet, Bhaktapur, Janakpur and Rupandehi, murdered his jail-mate Bhakta Bahadur Sunar, 32, of Bardiya in May last year.

In yet another incident, Samirman Singh Basnet, who is doing time in the Central Jail for construction entrepreneur Sharad Kumar Gauchan’s murder, was found to be engaged in criminal activities such as extortion from behind bars. Security personnel have kept under round-the-clock surveillance.

The one-year report card released by the MoHA yesterday claimed that police had put in place special security arrangements inside prisons. “Adequate number of closed-circuit television cameras have been installed in the prisons to prevent incidents of jailbreak and other potential crimes inside the jails,” it said.

The central jail, the oldest prison in the country, was equipped with 30 CCTV cameras to put its entire premises under CCTV surveillance. Police officials and the jail administration monitor the activities of inmates and prisoners from the control room.

Prisoners of Central Jail and Dillibazar Prison often try to break jail as the physical infrastructure of these jails are old and in dilapidated condition. The 104-year-old central prison houses around 2,800 jailbirds, including high-profile prisoner Charles Sobhraj.

Tika Bahadur Thapa Magar, 30, had escaped from Dillibazar Prison by scaling a barbed wire fence on January 28 last year. He was arrested for involvement in more than a dozen property crimes. Later, he was nabbed from Chitwan after being shot at. In October last year, a British inmate escaped Nakhu Jail. However, Mukadur Hussain, who was doing time on the charge of overstaying, was later nabbed.

The MoHA said installation of high resolution CCTV cameras would also ensure better vigilance and safety of inmates and prisoners.

In March 2011, Yunus Ansari was shot at by Manmeet Singh, 42, of Bareilley, India, at the Central Jail. Ansari was doing time in connection with possession of fake Indian currency and contraband drugs. He, however, survived the attack and police arrested the shooter.

MoHA said it is also doing groundwork to establish connection between all the prisons and courts through video conferencing system for trials. After the prisons are equipped with this facility, police need not transport the inmates of sub-judice cases to the concerned court for short hearing. It will also end the chance of possible escape of inmates from court premises.

Similarly, the process of relocating the Central Jail to Trishuli of Nuwakot is picking pace. The construction site is spread over  539 ropani land. The prison facility with capacity of 7,000 persons, will have five blocks, including one for females, as per its master plan. The MoHA said one of the blocks with capacity of 1,500 persons would be completed by mid-July next year.


A version of this article appears in print on July 25, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

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