SRINAGAR: The Srinagar Central Jail is a major hub for recruiting militants with inmates establishing a “parallel administrative” set-up, ignored by local police despite warnings by prison authorities, says a report by the Jammu and Kashmir CID.
The role of the Central Jail is presently so important that every new militant is recruited only after approval from inside the prison, the report said, quoting reliable sources. “However, as to who gives such an approval is being ascertained,” it said.
Director General of Police, Dr S P Vaid sent the report, prepared under AG Mir, Inspector General of the state Criminal Investigation Depart-ment, to Principal Secretary (Home) Raj Kumar Goyal in 2017. He also sought stricter vigilance within the prison.
According to the report, the inmates have a “parallel administrative set up” with an ‘Ameer-e-Zindaan’ (chief of prison) appointed by a self-styled ‘shura’ (a consultative council) for six months.
Former Director General of Prison SK Mishra, who was recently shunted following the escape of Lashker-e-Taiba militant Mohammed Naveed Jhatt on February 6, said in a lengthy reply to the report that he had long been highlighting the issue. He said he had told the state home department about several communications to former Inspector General of Police (Kashmir) Munir Khan and the Deputy Inspector General for a thorough search of jail but this was not done.
In his reply to the principal home secretary, Mishra also said he had flagged issues related to poor infrastructure in the jail which does not allow for proper segregation of the inmates. Mishra, who is the senior-most IPS officer of the state, and is now chairman-managing director of J&K Police Housing Corporation, also said that he had decided to shift many hardened militants and their sympathisers outside Kashmir but this could not be done following orders from various courts.
“At a time five to 20 people remain inside to guard the 300 prisoners and it cannot be expected with this thin force to discipline the inmates with iron fist…. request for deputation of 150 police personnel to supplement the requirement of security of central jail and other jails have not been considered by the government,” the reply said.
Meanwhile, the separatist leaders on Wednesday criticised a CID report which claimed that said the Srinagar Central Jail was a hub for recruiting terrorists, with inmates establishing a “parallel administrative” set-up, ignored by local police, despite warnings by prison authorities.
The separatist leaders, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik, alleged that this was a deliberate attempt to shift blame as it was not the central jail but actions of the police which were forcing youths to join militancy.
“One inmate escaped from SMHS but five others who were with him at the hospital returned to jail on their own. Nobody is discussing this aspect of the story but instead those who chose to return are now being victimised and terrorised by the police, CID and agencies, and are being blamed for recruiting militants,” they alleged.
They were referring to Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist Naveed Jhatt’s escape from Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) Hospital here.