Four officials including the head constable have been suspended for negligence after 16 under-trial inmates escaped from Jodhpur’s Phalodi jail in Rajasthan on Monday evening. This shocking incident came to light this morning. The incident took place around 8:30 pm when prisoners were heading back to their barracks after dinner; they threw in chilli powder, a deployed from the food mess, in the eyes of a woman guard and other jail staff, allegedly blinding them, states Anil Kayal, superintendent of Jodhpur Rural. “It is a serious incident and the department will ensure accountability of those responsible for it. Meanwhile, the department is in touch with the office of Jodhpur Rural, police superintendent, to assist in the investigation and recapture of fleeing inmates,” Director General (Prison) Rajeev Dasot said in the statement. They lodged three of the absconding prisoners at the jail under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (murder) and the rest for Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. Out of the 16 prisoners, three are from Bihar and the rest are from the locals of Jodhpur i.e. Phalodi, Baap, and Lohawat. Police believe that the attack and the escape were pre-planned as the inmates fled on a vehicle that was parked outside the jail. The borders of Jodhpur and Bikaner have been sealed, the search team has been very active and is taking the help of the locals. As per the prison department officials, mobile phones and other objectionable materials were recovered from the Sub-Jail on April 2 during an inspection by a special team from Jodhpur. Yashpal Ahuja, the Phalodi deputy collector, also stated they have informed police stations about the escape and they were on high vigil. He said it was one of the biggest mistakes the inmates committed, it could add to their existing charges. Union minister and BJP’s MP from Jodhpur, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, said the incident marked the failure of the state government. He also mentioned that the law and order of the state are in critical shape and so are the conditions of prisons.

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