293 still absconding, five jail staff suspended in Bastar

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Jagdalpur, Dec 17 (UNI) A total of 293 prisoners, including naxalites, who had escaped from the sub-jail at Dantewada district in Maoist infested South Bastar, are still at large, senior police officials said today.

Director General of Police (Jails) Sant Kumar Paswan told UNI five of the absconding prisoners were arrested, while two others had surrendered before the police.

Meanwhile, a magisterial inquiry has been ordered into the circumstances that led to the jail break in sub-jail at Dantewada district, one of the worst naxalite affected districts in the country.

Chief Minister Raman Singh has ordered suspension of jailer and four other staff pending an inquiry against them.

State Home Minister Ram Vichar Netam, Director General of state police Vishwaranjan, DG (Jails) Sant Kumar Paswan reached Dantewada by helicopter this morning to take stock of the situation.

Dantewada district Superintendent of Police Rahul Sharma told UNI police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel have begun an intensive combing operation in the nearby forests to flush out the absconding naxalite cadres and their sympathisers. A helicopter is also being used to conduct an aerial search.

More than 300 prisoners, including about 150 naxalites and their sympathisers also known as sangam members, had escaped from the sub-jail yesterday at around 1700 hours after unleashing an attack on the jail guards.

Throwing light on the developments, jail department sources said an under-trial naxalite Sujit Kumar first fired at a jail guard while the prisoners were coming out of their barracks during tea time. Others joined him soon to attack other jail staff and also broke open the doors, enabling more than 300 prisoners to escape.

The rebels also broke open the doors of armory and looted one INSAS rifle and 303 weapons.


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