Srinagar Central Jail hub of militant recruitment: J&K CID report

Srinagar Central Jail hub of militant recruitment: J&K CID report

Srinagar Central Jail hub of militant recruitment: J&K CID report

Months before Lashker Commander Naveed Jatt alias Abu Hanzulla's escaped from police custody, Jammu and Kashmir CID had termed Srinagar Central Jail as a hub for recruiting militants with inmates establishing a "parallel administrative set up."

In a revelation, the CID report mentions that the role of the jail is so important that every new militant is only recruited after 'approval' from inside the prison.

"The Jail has an 'Ameer-e-Zindaan' (prison chief) who is appointed by a 'Shura' (council) for a period of six months. However, as to who gives such an approval is being ascertained," the report prepared by the former director general of prison SK Mishra, last year mentions.

Mishra, a senior IPS officer, was recently shifted from the Prisons department After Hanzulla escape on February 6 following a brief shootout at SMHS hospital in Srinagar, in which two policemen were killed.

The report also mentions that Mishra during his tenure had decided to shift high profile militants and their sympathisers outside Kashmir but could not due to orders from various courts.

"Srinagar Central Jail is located in the heart of old city Srinagar and high profile militants lodged there have links with locals in the area. They (militants) directly or indirectly threaten the staff," the report says and added that this was not brought to the notice of senior jail officials.

Mishra has also lashed out at the state police chief Shesh Pal Vaid saying: "The problems of prison department are well known to home department and DGP. Instead of levelling allegations, it is time to become a part of the solution and collectively sort out all issues in the national interest."

Video calls and Facebook

Sources said that the prisoners and under-trials inside Srinagar Central Jail had "free access" to everything including SIM cards, smart phones and Internet and they had been enjoying everything from video calls on WhatsApp to updating of Facebook.

"There's no proper record of the visitors, purpose of their visit or the things they carry in or take out. Total control lies with different militant outfits and 'Ameer-e-Zindaan' decides which of the detainees had to be lodged in that jail," they revealed.

Following Hanzulla's escape several high-risk prisoners have been shifted to jails  outside Kashmir and the prisons department is conducting review of jails across the state. So far, over 20 high-risk militant prisoners have been shifted.

DG Prisons, Dilbagh Singh confirmed that shifting of prisoners has taken place. He, however, didn't divulge the number of prisoners shifted.

Pertinently, Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Geelani has warned the government of "serious consequences" if political prisoners, lodged at the Srinagar Central Jail, were shifted to jails outside Kashmir.