Hanzulla escape: High risk militant prisoners to be shifted from Kashmir jails

Hanzulla escape: High risk militant prisoners to be shifted from Kashmir jails

Hanzulla escape: High risk militant prisoners to be shifted from Kashmir jails

In the backdrop of a dramatic escape of the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) commander Naveed Jatt alias Abu Hanzalla last week, J&K prisons authorities have decided to shift high-risk militant prisoners from the Valley's prisons to various jails in Jammu.

Sources said, all the Pakistani-militant prisoners lodged in various jails in Kashmir will be shifted to Jammu jails, but not before ensuring "proper security measures."

"The directive to conduct the  review of the prisons across the state came after Hanzullah escaped from SMHS hospital on February 6. The incident sent the police and prisons department into a tizzy forcing them to go for jail reviews to ensure fool-proof security cover to high-risk prisoners," they said.

The escape of Hanzalla exposed the porosity and vulnerability of jails in Kashmir, where dozens of high profile militants are lodged.

The influential support structure within the Srinagar central jail, which came to fore after Hanzulla's escape, has revealed how the system there has been crippled and lodging high-profile militants is a risk there.

J&K Director General of prisons, Dilbagh Singh said that the security measures, which need improvement, have been identified.

"Now, we will take the government on board and action will follow soon," he said.

Asked whether there are plans of shifting all the militants lodged in  central jail Srinagar to Jammu, he evaded reply but stated that "this is an ongoing process."

However, earlier state police chief Shesh Pal Vaid had said that all the high-risk militant prisoners lodged in central jail Srinagar will be shifted to Jammu prison.

Last year in August Jammu and Kashmir Police unearthed a separatist network operating inside a jail in north Kashmir's Baramulla district by recovering 20 cell phones from the inmates during a night raid.

Some hardcore militants and separatist prisoners used the cell phones to keep in touch with their handlers in Pakistan via WhatsApp to help create unrest in the state, police had said then.

Earlier in April last year police had unearthed a similar network in the same jail by seizing 16 cell phones.

Two of the cell phones seized belonged to hardline separatist leader Masarat Alam, the man reportedly behind the 2010 civilian unrest in Kashmir.

Of the 2,500-odd prisoners, under-trials, and other detainees lodged in the state's 14 jails, nearly 250 are militants.

frequently, they are brought to various hospitals for a medical check-up on court directions.

However, after Hanzulla's escape from SMHS hospital in Srinagar, after a brief shootout in which two policemen died, Vaid circulated a ban on the medical check-up of militant detainees at any government or private hospital other than the police hospital.