Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh called a high-level meeting next week to review security in the state's prisons. This came after prisoners in Gurdaspur Central Jail on Friday went on a rampage, attacking two members of jail staff, forcing the security guards to open fire to rein them in.
Rioting prison inmates fought pitched battles with security forces till Saturday morning, but were thwarted in their attempted jailbreak by heavy police reinforcements rushed there, police said.
Punjab Police's elite SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) commandos, armed police as well as police personnel from Amritsar, Pathankot, Tarn Taran and Batala districts were rushed to the Gurdaspur jail to control the violence.
A number of inmates from the central jail have since been shifted to other prisons in Punjab.
Police sources said many inmates were all set to breach the jail's outer wall and flee, but heavy police presence, which was nearly 5,000-strong, and use of tear gas by police helped control the situation.
The inmates even indulged in brick-batting, burning down the jail beds and smashing CCTV installed in the jail premises, police said.
Smoke could be seen coming out of the jail premises.
Bhupinderjit Singh, Gurdaspur district police chiefThe situation is totally under control. We had to call police forces from other places (to control the situation). The inmates indulged in rioting and tried to escape. We prevented that by using tear gas.
The rioting began on Friday afternoon after some gangsters, led by one Jagtar Singh Jagga, attacked two jail warders. Other prison inmates soon started a riot.
Police officials said the situation turned restive early on Saturday as the rioting inmates damaged prison property and clashed with police. The inmates used gardening tools to breach the outer jail wall, but were prevented from escaping as police lobbed tear gas shells.
Senior police officers, including Additional Director General of Police (Prisons) Rohit Chaudhary, ADGP (Law and Order) Hardeep Dhillon and Inspector General of Police (Border Range) Naunihal Singh rushed to the jail on Friday night and camped there till Saturday.
The sources said some criminals lodged in the hail even threatened to upload videos of police action against the prisoners on social media, forcing police to initially restrain itself in acting against the rioters.
(With inputs from IANS and PTI.)