Mobile phone use, radicalisation of youths rampant in Srinagar central jail

An official report has been shared with the Jammu and Kashmir Home Department from time to time but action appeared to have not been taken to check this trend.

Published: 25th February 2018 12:44 PM  |   Last Updated: 25th February 2018 12:44 PM   |  A+A-

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SRINAGAR: It is a virtually free run for prisoners inside the high-security central jail prison here where nearly 300 unauthorised mobile phones are operational with the inmates of the prison where radicalisation of undertrials and petty criminals is posing a growing threat, according to an official report.

The report has been shared with the Jammu and Kashmir Home Department from time to time but action appeared to have not been taken to check this trend.

These issues have come to light during an internal probe being carried out in the aftermath of the escape of dreaded Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) 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 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 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.

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