Pakistani ‘Bagpiper’ Prisoner Critical But Alive: Reports

KL Report

SRINAGAR

Pakistan and Indian officials have rejected reports by a Pakistani newspaper that Sanaullah Haq, the militant turned ‘convict bagpiper’ was dead. He was shifted to PGI Chandigarh from GMC hospital in Jammu after a fellow convict Ashok Kumar hit his head with a pickaxe.

SAnullahA news report quoting Pakistan embassy’s Press Attaché Manzoor Ali Memon saying the condition of the prisoner is “critical”. A few officials from the high commission visited PGI in Chandigarh after the central government permitted consular access to the seriously injured prisoner. Haq, he said, was on life support and the situation remains “grim”.

State government and central government sources have also stated that the Pakistani newspaper report is incorrect. “He is not dead but he critical,” officials were quoted saying.

After the attack, police are in the process of seeking the custody of Vinod Kumar from the jail authorities. Kumar, a former soldier convicted for killing his colleague in Leh, is still in the lock-up of the Kot Bhalwal jail. Senior officers who are probing the case visited the spot of the clash in the jail premises. They are moving the court to seek the custody. A case has already been registered and police officials said the required evidences have been collected.

Kumar, a resident of Siku village of Garhwal Hills near Uttarkhand’s Nainital, Uttarakhand was serving 15 Garhwal Regiment in Leh when in 2006 he had opened firing with his official weapon and killed his colleague. He was court marshaled and awarded life imprisonment by an Army court in 2007. He was shifted to Kot Bhalwal jail on July 28, 2009 from District Jail, Leh.

In order to prevent any further crisis, jail authorities have segregated the Pakistani prisoners in all the state jails especially Kot Bhalwal. There are 22 Pakistanis imprisoned in Kot Bhalwal. Jail Superintendent Mrs Rajini Sehgal has already been placed under suspension along with the warden and other staff of a particular barrack. There are 380 prisoners in the Kot Bhalwal jail including 46 militants.

Sanaullah, 64 is a resident of Daluwali village in Sialkot (Pakistan) and was arrested in 1994. He was convicted for two attacks – a bomb blast in a matador JK02A 0941 at Ashoka Crossing, Satwari (Jammu) and in a bus 3875 JK02B blast at Manda Morh in Nagrota on July 16, 1994 and November 20, 1994, respectively. While four persons were killed and 16 were injured in the Satwari attack, there were 10 deaths and 43 injured in the Nagrota case. Around 14 people were killed in the twin attacks. Since 1999, Kot Bhawal was his home where, very recently, he qualified to be a bagpiper for the convict team. In 2009 he was awarded twin life sentences.

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