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After LeT militant’s escape, MHA to step up vigil in Srinagar jails

Some of the long-term measures include the construction of staff quarters on the jail premises, establishment of e-courts, holding trials through video conferencing, and the introduction of ‘special courts’ in jails to expedite trials of Pakistani prisoners.

india Updated: Feb 26, 2018 23:18 IST
Azaan Javaid
Azaan Javaid
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
MHA,LeT,Kashmir
A militant arrested for helping Lashkar-e-Taiba’s Naveed Jutt in custody.(PTI File Photo)

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.

The decision was taken after a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant escaped police custody during his visit to a hospital earlier this month. Home secretary Rajiv Gauba has personally sent the official communication to the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) government on February 13.

According to a communication, seen by HT, the “action points” were chosen based on intelligence inputs and reports received by the MHA from various agencies.

Some of the long-term measures include the construction of staff quarters on the jail premises, 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.

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.

Some of the other measures 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 prisoners mess, to stop individuals from cooking food.

A senior home ministry official, who asked not to be named, said 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,” the official added.

First Published: Feb 26, 2018 23:18 IST