The attack on jailers by remand prisoners on Tuesday has exposed the chinks in Kozhikode district jail's armour, including the shortage of staff and the inability of the contract staff to handle the habitual offenders.
At least nine warders were injured when two remand prisoners, Ashraf and Shamim, went on a rampage destroying the furniture and flower pots and smashing the window panes of the jail. The injured prison guards, most of them having suffered wounds on the neck, limbs and abdomen, have been admitted to the Government General Hospital (Beach Hospital).
DIG ( North Zone), Department of Prisons, Vinod Kumar said that steps would be taken to shift the inmates to another jail, possibly to a Central jail. Ashraf and Shamim were involved in numerous theft cases and recently they were involved in stealing mobile phones from a shop in Kozhikode and pick-pocketing at Tirur.
He said they were attempting to make trouble from the time they were remanded to the jail. On Tuesday, they attacked the jailers with discarded steel pipes on the premises of the jail and attempted to attack others with an LPG gas cylinder maintained at the kitchen. The Kasaba police have registered a case in connection with the incident.
Prison officers said that acute shortage of staff was giving a difficult time for them, especially those inmates with vulnerable background at the district jail. The warders have to be recruited through the Public Service Commission and imparted training for prison duty.
However, the Kozhikode district jail manages with a dozen skeletal staff and job aspirants recruited from the Employment Exchange for six months. A new batch, without any training, comes on temporary basis every six months leading to precarious situation.
Adding to the woes of the jail authorities is the overcrowding of prisoners. The district jail can accommodate 170 inmates but now the total number has reached 280. Besides, the jail also had to accommodate convicts involved in lesser crimes having sentences up to six months, an official said.