BHUBANESWAR, ORISSA, Jan. 19. —
Six jails in the Naxalite-infested areas of the state will be fortified to face any attack by the Left wing extremists. A decision to this effect was taken by the government in the wake of Jehanabad jail-break in Bihar. The jails that will see intensified security are in Rourkela, Baripada, Sambalpur, Koraput, Rayagada and Malkangiri — where the Naxalites have a larger presence.
Official sources said that vulnerable points of these jails would be strengthened by constructing at least two watch towers for each prisons where sentries would be keeping vigil over the movement of outsiders round the clock. They would be equipped with binoculars to keep watch on the movement of people and light machine guns to shoot at the ultras.
The expenses for the jail fortification will be met from the Budget, said thee sources and added that provisions for this purpose would be made in the 2006-07 Budget itself. The internal security of the prisons will also be strengthened besides imparting special training to the jail staff to counter any Naxalite attack.
A senior official said that though there was no threat to any particular jail, precautionary measures were being taken to pre-empt any Jehanabad type assault in the state. It may be noted that security arrangements in the prisons located in the Maoist-affected districts had been beefed up in the wake of an attack on the Jehanabad sub-jail in Jharkhand recently.
All the SPs of the Maoist-affected districts had been directed to keep strict vigil on the movement of Maoist under-trials. Instructions had been issued to beef up security in and outside the prisons and strengthen the roof-top guard system. The district police and jail authorities had been asked to shift any “trouble monger” Maoist prisoner to other jails, if necessary.
In fact, Maoist activists had been shifted from a few jails located in the western and southern districts of the state. It may be noted that more than 150 Maoist activists have been lodged in various jails across the state.