Transaction of mobile phones and narcotics seems to have become the norm in Bajura District Prison though it is constantly guarded by security personnel.

The revelation was first made in August last year, when a government team monitoring the prison found nine mobile sets and hashish.

Though the district administration has monitored the prison time and again after that incident, hand sets and hashish are finding their way into the prison, without the prison authority's knowledge.

Presently, there are 47 inmates in the prison which has the capacity to house only 25 persons. While there are more than 39 mobile sets being used by inmates in the prison now, a source preferring anonymity said more than 20,000 rupees worth of hashish is transacted in the prison in a month. Again, sources said that the leaders of inmates and some prison staffers were hand-in-gloves in smuggle phones and hashish into the prison.

Prison Chief Jailer Sunraj Rawal and District Police Office Chief DSP Madanjit Mahara, however, dismissed the reports that the inmates were using hashish and phones inside prison. "Following rumours that prisoners were using mobile phones, we monitored the prison cells and found only one phone," said Rawal. "As the prison facility is old, the inmates might also have hidden their phones or the contraband in question, if they have any, we have asked the staffers to intensify checking while sending things into the prison," he said.

On his part, Assistant CDO Samir Bhandari said they would investigate the matter. "The monitoring teams could neither find the mobile phones inmates were said to be using secretly and the narcotic they were said to be using and selling, maybe because they got wind of the impending monitoring. We will investigate the matter," he said.

A version of this article appears in the print on July 18 2021, of The Himalayan Times.