Srinagar central jail has turned into a full-fledged radicalisation centre
300 unauthorised mobile phones, radicalisation are among the various issues that have been reported from the Srinagar central jail. An official report filed states that there is large scale radicalisation of undertrial prisoners that is taking place inside the jail.
The report shared with the home department in Jammu and Kashmir also states that there are at least 300 unauthorised mobile phones which are in use at the jail.
These issues have come to light during an internal probe being carried out in the aftermath of the escape of dreaded Lashkar-e-Tayiba terrorist Mohammed Naveed Jhatt, a Pakistani national, who fled from police custody on February 6 after killing two policemen.
According to a state intelligence report, which was submitted to the state home department, nearly 300 mobile phones are operational within the jail premises which has become a den for the radicalisation of youths lodged for petty crimes.
The then Director General of Prisons S K Mishra, who was shifted after the dramatic escape of Jhatt at busy SMHS hospital, had responded to the report, saying that the mobile jammer installed in the jail by Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) has not been functioning.
"The technology adopted by the ECIL appears to be obsolete. The jammers are no longer able to block any signals or mobile phones," he said, adding that the matter was reported to the state home department through several communications but the jail authorities have "not received any response.
On radicalisation, the report said "the sermons are given on Jehad. The basic tenets of religion are overlooked and emphasis is laid on radical aspects. Such religious sermons have a deep psychological impact on inmates and youth in particular who develop an inclination towards joining militancy or getting recruited as overground workers (for militants)," the report said.
There is no segregation of prisoners and people arrested for charges under terrorism or separatism are treated with a higher degree of respect by the inmates.
"The inmates are allotted barracks based on their affiliation of (terror) organisation," the report said, adding the decision is taken by old prisoners themselves.
It said the jail, which is expected to act as a correctional facility, is "instead of being used as a place of religious indoctrination and militant recruitment".
"It is being observed that even petty criminal who spend some time in jails are today coming out as highly indoctrinated individuals with religious motivation to support or even join militant ranks."
Mishra, who is at present posted as chairman-cum-managing director of Jammu and Kashmir Police Housing Corporation, said: "segregation of high profile militants is unachievable in central jail Srinagar because of very poor and old structure".
Anyone can go to any barrack and intermingle and listen to the sermons in the barracks, he had replied.