The main accused in the Delhi gang-rape case, Ram Singh, allegedly committed suicide in the high security Tihar Jail. Authorities found him hanging in his cell at around 5 am on Monday.
As the news broke, questions were raised from almost every section of society about the death of an undertrial who was kept on a 'suicide watch'.
Many have even refused to consider the incident as a case of suicide and have demanded a judicial inquiry into the matter.
In January, Delhi police had directed the prisons department to keep the five accused under tight vigil. However, the unexpected happened and the prime accused in the case is no longer available for trial.
The incident has cast serious doubt on the security in Tihar Jail, which is considered one of India's most hi-tech jails.
In this case, the jail authorities are in question for three reasons mainly:
First being the location of the accused which can be termed the biggest lapse on the part of the jail administration. His placement in an ordinary cell with other inmates would have induced suicidal tendencies, which is common among rape-case accused.
The humiliation and isolation from other inmates also play a major role in these kinds of situations.
"Rape accused have a major tendency to commit suicide as they are isolated by other inmates in jails. Where a prison inmate loses hope and knows he has no chance of getting away he does look for opportunities to take his own life inside jail," said former Inspector General of Prisons, Kiran Bedi.
"The enquiry ordered into Ram Singh's suicide inside Tihar Jail will reveal the kind of e-watch or h-watch (human watch) he was under."
According to jail authorities, a guard was posted to keep watch on Ram Singh's cell only to find Ram Singh's hanging body. This too raised questions as to how Ram Singh could find the time to tie his clothes into knots to hang himself, in the presence of a guard and other inmates in his cell.
"Other inmates were present and a guard was also posted. But nobody came to know about it. Around 5 am, he was found hanging," a senior jail officer told Firstpost.
The third and utmost important point is that there were no CCTV cameras in front of Ram Singh's cell. However, its significance becomes utterly useless as in India CCTV cameras are rarely monitored and are more often a show-piece than a surveillance device.
Even if there were security cameras in front of the cell, the presence of any guard monitoring the coverage in the monitoring room seems highly impossible for a situation wherein a guard deployed on the location misses all the 'action'.
Meanwhile, according to an AFP report, Ram Singh's father said that his son was sodomised by the inmates and murdered.
"I had met him six days back at the court. He had told me that his life is in danger and he also said that he had been sodomised by his fellow inmates," said Mange Lal Singh.
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