Srinagar, Feb 20: The Srinagar Central Jail is a 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 SP Vaid sent the report, prepared under AG Mir, Inspector General of the state Criminal Investigation Department, 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 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-Toiba militant Mohammed Naveed Jhatt on 6 February, 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 through 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 JK 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.
Mishra also drew attention to the role of the state law department and said “necessary directions need to be issued to Advocate-General and Additional Advocate-General in pursuing the matter of the prison department such as vacation of stay orders on transfer of prisoners and surrender of convicts who are on parole and are at large”.
The Central Jail, he said, is located in the heart of downtown Srinagar and high profile militants lodged there have links with locals in the area. “They (militants) directly or indirectly threaten the staff,” he said, adding that this was not brought to the notice of senior jail officials.
Hitting out at Vaid, Mishra said, “…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.”
The state CID is mandated to keep a watch on political and militancy related development within the state.