Ailing inmate’s death sparks riot in Punjab jail

About two dozen inmates of the modern jail in Punjab’s Kapurthala town were wounded in prison violence on Sunday.

The police had to fire hundreds of rounds for over two hours to quell the violence and prevent the prisoners from escaping. The inmates succeeded in breaking open one of the inside gates of the prison.

The inmates alleged that two persons died in the firing. But the authorities denied the allegation, saying only 13 inmates sustained bullet wounds and were admitted to a hospital.

“There is no casualty. Thirteen prisoners were wounded in the police firing, which was ordered following rioting and arson in the jail,” Kapurthala deputy commissioner Harkesh Singh Sidhu said.

Sources said violence broke out in the prison after the death of an ailing inmate. He apparently didn’t get medical assistance in time. Some of the wounded said they were protesting against the non-availability of medical treatment on the jail premises. They alleged it was the second death inside the jail in a week.

The inmates torched the jail hospital after the latest death. They attacked jail superintendent Surinder Singh Saini and broke open one of the gates. As they ran towards the main gate, the jail police tried to stop them with batons and then opened fire as the violence spiralled. Sources said the inmates were fired at indiscriminately from the barrack roof.
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