Madhya Pradesh’s Jail Department on Tuesday ordered officers and guards to open fire on prisoners attempting to escape or snatch weapons from staff. The order was issued after two undertrials escaped from a district jail in Morena on Monday, The Indian Express reported.
Additional Director General (Jail) GR Meena said prison guards had not shot anyone during jailbreak attempts because no orders had been issued to sanction such action. “The written orders will make them feel more confident,” he told the daily.
The shooting order will apply if those attempting to escape from prisons break gates and windows or snatch keys from jail officials. On Monday, Omprakash Jat and Anil Rathod escaped during a headcount at the Morena jail through a hole they had dug in the prison’s wall.
Security at prisons in Madhya Pradesh has come under scrutiny in recent months, especially after eight Students’ Islamic Movement of India undertrials escaped from Bhopal Central Jail on October 30, 2016. The men were intercepted on the outskirts of the city and were shot dead after they allegedly engaged the police in a gun battle (pictured above).
However, the incident was criticised by various rights groups, including the National Human Rights Commission, which issued notices to the state government, police and prison officials. In December 2016, the Madhya Pradesh government had asked the Central Industrial Security Force to audit security arrangements at three prisons in the region.