A Pakistani prisoner Sanaullah Haq serving life term was attacked inside the high-security Kot Balwal jail in Jammu by a fellow inmate Friday morning and his condition is stated to be serious, official sources said.
It was not immediately known whether the attack on the 52-year-old convict with a sharp weapon was a backlash against the death of Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh in a hospital in Pakistan on Thursday after being comatose for nearly a week following a brutal assault by fellow inmates in a high-security Lahore jail, officials said.
Official sources said the Kot Balwal jail superintendent Rajni Sehgal has been suspended by the Jammu and Kashmir government which also ordered a probe.
Sources said Sanaullah, a resident of Pakistan, was admitted in Government Medical College hospital in an unconscious condition with serious injuries on his head.
A case of assault was registered against Vinod Kumar, an ex-serviceman who is also serving a life term in the jail on the outskirts of Jammu. Kumar hails from Uttrakhand.
The sources said the health condition of Sanaullah was stated to be very critical as he was hit with a very sharp weapon. He may be shifted to Chandigarh's PGI for treatment as his Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) was pretty low.
GCS is a scale for measuring level of consciousness, especially after a head injury, in which scoring is determined by three factors: amount of eye opening, verbal responsiveness, and motor responsiveness.
Sanaullah was arrested on April 1999 in connection with five cases related to terror activities. The attack occurred ahead of Sarabjit's funeral at his native village in Punjab.
Following the death of 49-year-old Sarabjit in Pakistan, Union Home Ministry had issued advisories to all states for maintaining high vigil in jails and ensuring there was no attack on any Pakistani prisoner lodged there.
Excluding fishermen, there are about 220 Pakistani prisoners in Indian jails. A similar number of Indians are lodged in Pakistani jails.
Meanwhile, Pakistan has raised the issue of attack on its nationals lodged in a Jammu jail with India and sought immediate consular access to him.
"Pakistan High Commission has shown serious concern. It has taken up with ministry of external affairs the attack on Pakistani prisoner Sanaullah in Kot Bhalwal Jail in Jammu," the Press attache in the High Commission said in New Delhi.
He said apart from seeking immediate consular access, the high commission has also asked for detailed information about the incident and medical facilities for the victim and security of other Pakistani inmates.
The attack on Sanaullah comes a day after the death of Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh after a murderous attack on him in a Lahore prison.
49-year-old Sarabjit had sustained severe injuries when at least six prisoners attacked him in a barrack at Kot Lakhpat Jail last week, hitting him on the head with bricks.
He was on death row after being convicted of alleged involvement in a string of bomb attacks in Pakistan's Punjab province that killed 14 people in 1990 and spent about 22 years in Pakistani prisons. Sarabjit's family has said his was a case of mistaken identity.
The union home ministry has asked all the states to step up security of Pakistani prisoners lodged in their respective jails after the attack in Lahore prison.
The ministry of external affairs has termed the attack as "regrettable". It also said the matter was being investigated and the guilty will be punished.
MEA also said the injured was receiving medical treatment and once the proper medical arrangements were in place, consular access will be provided.
"We are aware of the regrettable incident involving a Pakistani prisoner Sanaullah who was injured today (Friday) during an altercation with another inmate of the jail in Jammu. The matter is being investigated and the guilty will be punished. Safety and security of prisoners in custody lies with the jail authorities and the necessary action is being taken," MEA spokesperson Syed Akabaruddin said.
"We are in touch with the Pakistan High Commission on the matter. The injured is receiving the medical treatment and once the medical arrangements are in place, the consular access will be provided," he added.
He also said that in view of these tragic incidents, which included killing of two Indian prisoners in a Pakistani jail and that involving a Pakistani prisoner in a jail in Jammu on Friday, there is a need to take stock of the current measures in place to ensure safety, security and humane treatment of Indian and Pakistani prisoners in each other's jails.
"For this, we are proposing a meeting of the concerned authorities of both countries to study the recommendations and identify and put in place further measures to avoid such tragic incidents in future," he said.
He also noted that India had recently requested the joint Judicial Committee to visit jails in Pakistan. This was Committee's sixth meeting and they have made some recommendations.
There are nearly 535 Indian prisoners (including 483 fishermen) in Pakistani jails and a total of 270 Pakistani prisoners in Indian jails.