In view of a rise in smuggling of drugs into the high-security Tihar jail in Delhi, the prison authorities plan to deploy a dog squad to curb the menace.
According to a senior official, plans are afoot to raise a four-member canine squad for the Tihar jail. Subsequently, it will be expanded to Rohini and Mandoli jails in the national capital.
The official said the authorities will procure puppies that will undergo training along with two handlers each at the training facilities run by the CRPF, ITBP and the BSF.
Following the training, these will be deployed in a first such initiative at the Tihar jail, which have reported instances of inmates carrying drugs and tobacco inside their stomach and vomiting them out on reaching the prison.
Investigations have also shown that sometimes family members of inmates smuggle the banned items into the jail, said the official.
Soon meetings will be held to work out the modalities for the roll-out of the project.
"We are planning to raise our own dog squad. We may start with four dogs. Dog will be procured and provided full training along with handlers," Director General (Delhi Prisons) Sandeep Goel said.
The idea of having a dog squad was also mooted in 2012 but was rejected owing to its non-feasibility. Those who have seen the jail premises at close quarters say that dog squads are mostly able to sniff out objects buried in the ground and inmates are unlikely to hide drugs there.
Dog squads of the police have visited the Tihar jail complex whenever there have been instances of escape of prisoners.
Sunil Gupta, who had served as the Tihar jail's law officer for 35 years until his retirement in 2015, said that this will be "just a cosmetic" exercise.
"This will not be feasible. Dogs are mostly able to sniff out things hidden on the ground but drugs are mostly smuggled inside the jail by hiding them in body parts. Dogs will not be able to detect those. Also, dogs are trained by making them sniff a particular drug for 15-20 days. If you enter a barrack, you will find them stinking. In such a scenario, it will be difficult even for a canine to sniff out drugs," he asserted.
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