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Coronavirus: 4 Bengal prison inmates hurt in clash with guards over denial to meet families

Press Trust of India  |  Kolkata 

Four inmates of the Dumdum Correctional Home here were injured in a clash with prison guards on Saturday over the state government's decision not to allow them to meet their families till March 31 due to coronavirus outbreak, officials said.

The inmates pelted the guards with stones and set jail property on fire following which police personnel burst tear gas shells to quell the violent stir, a top prison official said. Family members of an under-trial prisoner, however, alleged that the prisoner was killed with a bullet injury.

State Correctional Administration Department Minister Ujjal Biswas, however, dismissed the claim.

"Four inmates were injured during the clash. They were admitted to the R G Kar Medical College and Hospital. There are no reports of any death so far," Biswas told PTI.

The minister said the inmates started agitating when authorities stopped them from meeting their relatives on Saturday to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus.

In the morning, some inmates insisted that they be released on parole, but when the authorities refused to accept their demand, they launched a violent agitation, a top prison official said.

The stir soon turned into a clash between the inmates and prison guards, he said.

RAF personnel and policemen managed to bring the situation under control after some time, the official said.

Several fire tenders were pressed into service to bring the fires under control, he said.

"The situation is under control. We are trying to identify the inmates behind the incident," the official said.

Sporadic incidents of clashes between inmates and prison guards were also reported at the Presidency Correctional Home, a senior police officer said.

However, there are no reports of any serious injury and the situation has been brought under control, he said.

A senior official of the West Bengal Correctional Services Department had said on Friday that allowing inmates' families to wait outside the prison was against the concept of social distancing, which is the key to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

"Keeping this in mind, a decision was taken not to allow the meetings till March 31," he said.

In view of the coronavirus outbreak, a family member of an inmate can now only call up the prison authorities to enquire about his or her health.

Meanwhile, the state government removed Director General of Correctional Services, Arun Gupta and named Peeyush Pandey as the new ADG & IG of the state correctional services, a government notification said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, March 21 2020. 22:14 IST