Seven people including six remand prisoners escaped from the Government Mental Health Centre in Thrissur on Tuesday evening after locking up the staff of the centre and attacking the officer who was on sentry duty.
The incident took place at around 7:30 pm near West Fort, where the centre is located.
The state police have so far managed to nab two of the accused who had escaped the centre in the wee hours of Wednesday morning. Meanwhile, a statewide search for the five escaped remand prisoners is also underway in the neighbouring districts.
The five men who managed to escape the centre were remand prisoners who were brought in from Viyyur Central Prison and Chittoor prison. They were brought to the Government Mental Health Centre on the directions of the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court in Thrissur after medical reports indicated that they suffered from mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.
On Tuesday night, the accused persons pushed two male nurses who had entered their cell to give food. The accused then snatched the keys from the nurses and locked them up in the cell. When one of the officers - Armed Reserve Camp Personnel Ranjith - arrived at the camp after observing the commotion, he too was reportedly assaulted by the accused men.
According to several reports, the paucity of security personnel at the mental health centre was one of the main reasons for the lapse which led to the escape of the prisoners.
Twenty of the remand prisoners at the centre are lodged in a forensic cell and have to be escorted by the police when they move out of the cell. However on Tuesday, only one of the two officers who had been stationed at the hospital, had been on duty when the incident took place. Despite the hospital authorities requesting for more officers to be deployed in the centre, their requests were brushed aside, reports quote authorities as saying.
With just a few police officers stationed outside for sentry duty, the accused inmates managed to scale the walls of the mental health centre and escape.