Tihar Jail Officials Cannot Be Above The Law Of The Land
It was most shocking to learn and I am most ashamed, aghast and appalled to learn that a convict named Ankit Gujjar aged 29 years who died in Tihar jail was murdered by none other than the jail staff itself because of which six Inspectors have been suspended till now. This was the finding of CBI which probed into it. When those who are meant to uphold the law themselves start committing crime then what can we expect our society to become? Yet we see no “Policeveer Yojana” for police ever being launched by Centre which really baffles me most! Are police officers deciding Centre’s agenda? Centre must also always remember that Tihar jail officials cannot be above the law of the land under any circumstances and if they dare to break law then they must be punished most ruthlessly for becoming law breakers instead of law protectors!
What I find even worst is that Centre just like it is deadly determined in last 75 years most shamelessly never to allow any High Court Bench in any part of UP where maximum Hindu holy cities exist like Ayodhya where biggest Ram temple is being most pompously built, Mathura, Varanasi, Gorakhpur, Meerut among others which are all considered nothing but “legally most and totally worthless” for the same except the one created by “world’s greatest jurist” and first PM of India who is none other than Barrister trained most rigorously in UK also called Great Britain also called England who ruled us like slaves for more than 200 years at Lucknow also called “Nawab City” for just 12 districts so that the people don’t have to travel even 200 km away to Allahabad due to which the people of hilly areas of undivided UP were made to travel thousands of kilometers senselessly till Allahabad not even Lucknow which is about 200 km nearer than Allahabad to get justice for more than 50 years when ultimately it was given High Court itself at Nainital and more than 10 crore people of West UP to travel again till Allahabad not even Lucknow most stupidly similarly we see nothing being done on police reforms as was recommended by none other than Supreme Court itself way back in 2006 in Prakash Singh case till 2022 even though Centre is very quick to work upon “Agniveer scheme” for soldiers to serve in defence services for just 4 years instead of 15 years as we see right now which is its own self creation thus making a complete mockery of Apex Court itself which is watching everything in silence since last 16 years like a helpless, hapless and hopeless spectator just like it is watching in case of demand for more Benches in UP since last 75 years waiting senselessly for Centre or UP Chief Justice to act who are all sleeping most comfortably since last 75 years on this front in the name of “due process has to be followed” thus making “due process” itself the biggest punishment on earth!
While shifting our total focus now on main topic, it must be mentioned that on August 4, 2021, 29-year-old Ankit Gujjar accused in at least eight murder cases and lodged in jail number 3 at the time was found dead inside the high-security prison. Thus far, we should notice that the police and prison officials have maintained the line that Ankit who is one of Western Uttar Pradesh’s (where Centre is most deadly against the creation of any High Court Bench even though Justice Jaswant Commission headed by Justice Jaswant Singh who is a former Supreme Court Judge recommended creation of High Court Bench in Agra where High Court itself existed from 1866 to 1869 even though on its recommendations Benches were created at Aurangabad in Maharashtra which already had 2 Benches and which tops in Justice Index ranking among all states and so also at Jalpaiguri in West Bengal which already had a Bench at Port Blair for just 3 lakh people and so also at Madurai in Tamil Nadu) top gangsters had died during a scuffle that broke out when he resisted attempts by jail officers to search his cell during which it is alleged that he also slapped a senior prison official. But this definitely does not give an unfettered licence to police to kill him!
What is most alarming is that in a damning indictment of the role of senior officials inside Tihar jail, an affidavit filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation in the Delhi High Court on May 21 has now claimed that the murder was an act of sheer revenge that is borne out by the brutal pre-meditated assault by six jail officials thus giving a final brutal end to a chain of events that began two months before the eventual killing. Let me mention that my information here is based mostly on the article that was published by Prawesh Lama in page 4 in Hindustan Times newspaper dated August 8, 2022. The CBI took over the case on September 8, 2021.
It must also be mentioned here that it was on July 29 that the central agency arrested Assistant Superintendent Dinesh Dabas and head warder Deepak Chikara on charges of murder. Before that, it was on May 5 that the main accused in the case who is Deputy Superintendent Narender Meena was arrested as well with the role of other officers also coming under a serious cloud who are under investigation as well. Six jail officers had allegedly assaulted three inmates – Ankit Gujjar himself, Gurjeet and Gurpreet which is most shocking and exposes how inhumane our police has become. The CBI affidavit pointed out that, “While using criminal force, vital parts of Ankit Gujjar were targeted by jail officials. As per the statement of eyewitnesses, applicant (Meena) put his foot over the neck of Ankit Gujjar and said that, “Aakhri baar dekh le mujhe, aaj barah baje se pehle maar dunga tujhe (Look at my face for the last time as I will kill you before midnight)…” The CBI pointed out that the assault lasted for at least half an hour with DNA samples collected from the polycarbonate lathis matching with Gujjar. They were beaten so brutally and badly that they had to be carried by the jail staff and other inmates as they could not walk on their own! It added that an assistant superintendent urged Meena to send Gujjar for medical aid but was met with the response, “Koi medical nahin karana, ek round aur khelengay (there will not be any medical examination, we will play another round).” Instead of sending a doctor a nursing staff was sent and did not note the extent of injuries. Gujjar was kept alone in ward1A. On morning of August 4, when a head warder announced Gujjar’s name and asked him to exit his cell, there was no response. A team of doctors that went inside found him unconscious. He was taken to jail hospital and was declared brought dead at 7:15 am! The three officials are now themselves lodged inside that same notorious Tihar jail! It is solely because such police cops who indulge in worst torture are never awarded the most strictest punishment that it has become a dangerous trend in our country of taking the legal rights of prisoners for granted! Yet we see no “Agniveer Yojana” for them as Centre considers them most proudly “a distinct permanent superior class” and not “some temporary inferior class” like army soldiers to be thrown out after just 4 years in most of the cases!
It is most shocking to learn that the CBI’s affidavit says that Gujjar who had been lodged in Tihar jail since August 2020 had been “providing money to jail officers through different sources for favours.” It very explicitly notes that Ankit had easy access to different cell phones within jail ordinarily banned within the premises. It must be noted that as evidence, the affidavit notes several phone numbers that Gujjar allegedly used in full connivance with jail officials. This itself is enough to vindicate that, “When money speaks, truth is silent and helpless”! This dirty business of money power holding supreme prevails in Tihar jail itself with Ankit Gujjar family alleging that he was beaten to death for allegedly failing to pay “protection money” to prison officers yet Centre never launches “Police Veer Yojana”! Anyway, who are we to comment on it! Let us wait as we are waiting most endlessly since last 75 years with full patience when even my father was not born and my grandfather was very young that a High Court Bench will come up some day later in West UP but all the Chief Justices in Allahabad are taking time in deliberating whether to give or not to give most senselessly even though many Union Law Ministers like Kapil Sibal among others recommended a High Court Bench at Meerut!
It is quite evident that the Tihar jail police officials consider themselves “above all law and regulations” as they enjoy the supreme blessings of top politicians in our country! This alone explains why the Vohra Committee report headed by former Indian Home Secretary NN Vohra that was set up by PV Narasimha Rao government in July 1993 and was submitted in October 1993 had gone into very minute details into the criminalization of politics and most dirtiest nexus among criminals, politicians and bureaucrats in India which he exposed but most shockingly only 13 pages of the report are made available to the public and the rest remain a source of deepest mystery as they were never made public yet Centre most proudly never favours Agniveer Yojana to be launched for police personnel nor ever favours reforms recommended by none other than Apex Court itself in Prakash Singh case as mentioned earlier also just like it is most deadly opposed to setting up of even a single High Court Bench not just in West UP but in any nook and corner of UP which tops among all states in the list of pending cases!
Needless to say, every Indian knows that how difficult it is to lodge even an FIR in a police station and have to undergo worst treatment in so many police stations yet Centre does nothing to address it ever in last 75 years which is an unpalatable reality from which we cannot run away! This is exactly what I find most disgraceful but Centre is too busy only with Agniveer scheme for Army which enjoys definitely a much more clean reputation even though I concede that there are black sheeps in very profession! Why Centre never demands accountability from police and ushers reforms in it even though time and again so many high powered Committees like the National Police Commission (1978-82), the Padmanabhaiah Committee on restructuring of police (2000) and the Malimath Committee on reforms in criminal justice system (2002-03) and Soli J Sorabjee Committee headed by former Attorney General of India in September 2005 have recommended for the same? Ask Centre and definitely not me as it is certainly not in my realm to answer it!