New Delhi,Manan Kumar(dna): Taking cue from Narendra Modi's idea to have a separate jail for terrorists so that they cannot influence, indoctrinate and recruit other convicts that he put forward as chief minister of Gujarat in 2010, the union home ministry has advised all states to set up new security prisons outside cities for exclusively housing terrorists. It has asked them to give serious consideration for being implemented on priority.
Till the time it is not possible, movement of high-risk prisoners should be restricted within the jails so that they cannot indoctrinate other prisoners, the home ministry has said.
Five years ago around the same time, Gujarat home minister Amit Shah had said, "With both the terror convicts and those convicted under CrPc sharing the same prison, there is a chance that these convicts could become potential sleeper cells for terror groups."
As chief minister of Gujarat, Modi wanted to build a new jail in Gujarat exclusively for terrorists and had even laid out the plan for Rs20 crore prison near Gandhinagar to accommodate 600 prisoners.
In a letter written to the principal secretaries of all states on April 28, the union home ministry says, "(There is) immediate need to decongest the jails by setting up security prison for terror accused outside the city. If that is not feasible, then very high-risk prisoners and other under-trial prisoners under the category of terrorist/security suspects are required to be segregated effectively from the ordinary prisoners within the complex of Central and District jails."
Home ministry's move seem to have been prompted by the jail successful jail break attempt by six alleged SIMI operatives from Khandwa jail in October 2013 who are still at large and a constant cause of worry for the security agencies.
The ministry also wants the states to put restriction on the movement of high-risk prisoners within the jails and their mixing with other prisoner even during transit to court, hospital etc. to avoid the chance of indoctrination and for strictly monitoring the activities of visitors inside the jails.
The idea to have a separate prison is not new. In 2009, while hearing a lawsuit seeking enhanced security for jails in the wake of a spate of jail breaks in 2004, a bench of Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan and Justice P Sathasivam had passed the ruling to have separate high-security prisons in states to house terrorists and gangsters.
The letter also eggs states to install CCTV cameras, mobile jammers with state of the art prison surveillance system and enforcement of a regular security classification protocol for screening and risk assessment of prisoners so that level of security within a prison is categorized in terms of risk to prisoners.