Tihar jail authorities are keeping a close eye on the five accused in the Delhi gang rape case after they were bashed up by other prisoners.

According to a source, the accused have been lodged in the general ward of the prison but separately. The main accused, bus driver Ram Singh is in jail number 3, in the company of other dreaded criminals. Mukesh and Akshay Singh, alias Thakur, are lodged in jail number 4. Pawan and Vinay Sharma are in jail number 7. The sixth accused, 17-year-old Raju is in a juvenile home.

“After the massive outrage against the gang rape, the inmates got furious to see the five accused. They bashed them up soon after their arrival in the jail and also on the day after the girl died,” the source said. He added that the accused get regularly thrashed when they go for lunch or dinner.

Tihar jail spokesperson Sunil Gupta, however, denied that the gang rape accused were bashed up. “They have been lodged in separate jails. Moreover, there is strict, round-the-clock vigil inside Tihar. No such incident has happened and we are taking every step to ensure their proper safety and security,” said Gupta. He also said that the accused are being treated like all other inmates, who are charged with various crimes, including rape.

However, some civil liberties groups are raising their voices against the thrashing. The Delhi president of Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), Mahipal Singh said that the jail authorities should ensure proper protection for the accused: “They are undertrials until the time judges decide on the case. Moreover, even after they are declared convicts, nobody should be allowed to take law into their own hands. The rule of law must prevail.” “This is also necessary to take the case to logical conclusion, which will not happen if the accused are harmed in any way,” he added.

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