October 28, 2013 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Chandigarh/ Punjab (October 28, 2013): It is learnt that a burial Jail cell, once inhabited by Bhai Jagtar Singh Hawara and others, had not hosted any prisoner since the 2004 sensational jail break until this year. This year (2013) the Burail Jail authorities used this cell for housing inmates who were fasting for “navratras” (observed by Hindus) and “rozas” (observed by Muslims). According to Jail officials this made it easier for them to provide the food that was prepared specially for the inmates and had to be served at specific times.
It is notable that on 22 January 2004 Bhai Jagtar Singh Hawara along with Jagtar Singh Tara, Paramjeet Singh Bheora and another made a sensational escape from the Model Jail, Burail, by digging approximately 94-foot-long tunnel.
According to a news reported by the Indian Express (IE): “[t]he probe into the case had revealed that it had taken over a year for the accused to dig the tunnel. Soil equivalent to eight truckloads had been dug out. It was spread in the kitchen garden of the barrack and flushed down the toilet”.
“Due to the investigation into the jailbreak, the tunnel could not be filled up. It was in the year 2010 that the permission for the same was given. The tunnel has now been filled using sand and concrete. At several places on the stretch, the tunnel had also caved in. During the repair, at regular intervals along the tunnel concrete walls were built to strengthen it” the IE news reads further.
However, as per information, the cell had not housed prisoners since the escape of Bhai Hawara and others. This year the jail officials made a list of prisoners who wanted to observe fasts on “navratas” and “rozas”. Around 30 of them gave their names and were housed separately for the duration of the fasts in this cell.
According to IE news report Prison Welfare Officer Praveen Kumar informed: ‘Special food was prepared for the inmates who observed the fast. In order to make it easy for food to be distributed, the inmates were housed separately. Instead of having to go to every cell and asking for the prisoners who were fasting, we kept them together. It made work of the staff easier’.
The inmates had to be served food in the wee hours during the rozas and food for them was prepared without salt during the navratras. Instead of looking for the inmates when food had to be served, the jail authorities found it more feasible to keep them in the cell from where Bhai Jagtar Singh Hawara had escaped.
Bhai Jagtar Singh was confined in the Burail Jail during the trial of Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh’s assassination case. After his conviction he was shifted to Tihar Jail Delhi, where he was facing trials in some other cases.
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