Naveed Jat Escape: MHA Evolves Prison Management Policy for J&K

Srinagar

The Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) drafted a list of six long and 23 short-term measures for jails in Srinagar, including segregating separatists, Pakistani and Kashmiri militants from other inmates, a report by the Hindustan Times said.

A KL file Image

The decision was taken after a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant escaped from police custody during his visit to a hospital earlier this month. Two cops carrying the militant to the hospital were killed in the escape bid.

According to a report published in the Hindustan Times, Home secretary Rajiv Gauba has personally sent the official communication to the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) government on February 13.

“Some of the long-term measures include the construction of staff quarters on the jail premises, the establishment of e-courts, holding trials through video conferencing, and the introduction of “special courts” in jails to expedite trials of Pakistani prisoners. The ministry has also recommended shifting the Central Jail in Srinagar to the outskirts of the Valley, and bulletproof vans for transporting inmates.”

“As part of the short-term measures, the ministry has asked the state government to introduce a system of cross-frisking under which all visitors, including security forces, will be searched in the presence of CRPF troopers, J&K police officials and jail staffers. Similarly, the staffers will be frisked by the security forces,” said the report.

“The ministry has also recommended that the security agencies conduct frequent raids in prisons and ensure militants and separatist elements don’t mingle. The state government has also been asked to vigorously contest court orders requiring prisoners to be lodged near trial courts,” the report said.

Some of the other measures according to report include banning the use of mobile phones by staff and visitors on jail premises, stricter visiting hours, establishing separate entries for men and women visitors and the effective management of the prisoner’s mess, to stop individuals from cooking food.

A senior home ministry official, who asked not to be named, told Hindustan Times that the MHA and the state government were in talks on strengthening jail security even before the escape of LeT militant Naveed Jutt, indicating that the government had been receiving inputs on suspected separatist activities inside Srinagar jails.

“The issue here is not prisoners, but overall security of the jail, especially visitors. The new directions will keep in check any untoward activities,” the official said. “There are 25 militants who need to be shifted out of the Valley and most of them have been shifted. Rest of the measures will be taken care of subsequently,” Hindustan Times quotes the official saying.

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