Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan said here on Thursday that the State government proposed jail reforms, including amendments to the jail manual.
Replying to questions at a press conference here on the display of photographs of political leaders and posters in certain wards of the Kannur Central Jail, Mr. Radhakrishnan said he had held discussions with Additional Director General of Police (Prisons) Alexander Jacob to bring in reforms at the jail and other prisons in the State on the lines of those introduced in the Central Jail in Thiruvananthapuram.
Asked if the Home Department would take action to remove the photographs and posters, he said the government wanted to pursue this issue within the legal framework for several reasons, one of which was that pictures of various gods too were displayed at some of the wards. There were a number of allied issues such as lodging prisoners convicted of murder in the same cell, the condition of the jails and an improvement of the general prison environment.
Mr. Radhakrishnan said the condition of the central jails in Thiruvananthapuram and Kannur was vastly different. The jail in the State capital was more advanced and forward-looking and even had a chapatti-making plant run profitably. He admitted to the sordid conditions prevalent in the jails, including the district jails, which needed to be improved.
With regard to the investigation into the T.P. Chandrasekharan murder case, he said the real culprits were still out of reach of the arm of law. In the event of a political murder, the earlier practice was to prepare a list of accused, who invariably got acquitted for want of evidence. The real culprits continued to be at large. “We are trying to bring an end to this practice of bypassing the law,” he said.
Mr. Radhakrishan maintained that he had not established contact with the Special Investigating Team going into the Chandrasekharan murder case. The team was free to conduct its investigations and arrive at its own conclusions. The initial reports showed that the investigation was going in the right direction.
Asked if the State government would consider handing over the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation, Mr. Radhakrishnan said its need did not arise at this point of time. Besides, there was no demand for it. Moreover, Chandrasekharan's widow, K.K. Rema, had expressed satisfaction at the investigation.
Mr. Radhakrishnan said the Cabinet had given clearance to a Rs. 5.85-crore proposal of the Home Department to increase the strength of the police force and improve policing facilities in Kasargod district, which had been a hotspot of communal tensions and criminal cases of late.
In the event of law-and-order problems in Kasargod, the authorities had to mobilise the police force from Kannur. On many occasions, the absence of the police was felt in law-and-order issues. The Cabinet had sanctioned the creation of 175 posts — 15 assistant sub-inspectors, 150 civil police officers and 10 driver-cum-civil police officers. In addition, 55 mobile patrolling units would be deployed. Asked about the communal tensions in the district, Mr. Radhakrishnan said that these would have to be tackled separately.