BAREILLY: Almost a month ago, much before Article 370 of the Constitution that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir was abrogated, the authorities at the Bareilly District Jail in Uttar Pradesh were asked to make necessary preparation to house some "high-profile" prisoners.
Jail Superintendent UK Misra, District Magistrate VK Singh and Senior Superintendent of Police Muniraj G had also visited the prison complex to take stock of the arrangements.
However, they were all clueless about the identity of prisoners who were to be brought. "We had been told to shift local inmates kept in isolation ward to somewhere else. Nobody knew who are the new prisoners and where were they going to come from," the jail superintendent said.
On August 10, a total of 20 inmates from various jails of Jammu and Kashmir were shifted to the Bareilly District Jail. As part of the preparation, the entire campus had been covered with over 200 pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) security cameras which are capable of having remote directional and zoom control.
PTZ cameras were also installed at isolation cells where these prisoners from the valley have been kept to keep a close eye on their activities. These prisoners have not been allowed to interact with other inmates in the jail.
A top jail official said that in Agra, Kashmir prisoners have been kept in the central jail while in Bareilly, the district jail was given preference due to several reasons. "First of all, this prison has a new complex having all latest technology and other infrastructure. Besides, the number of inmates is well below capacity," he explained.
Against the capacity of 4,000 inmates, the Bareilly District Jail, at present houses 2,718 inmates. On Monday, the prisoners from Jammu and Kashmir offered "namaaz" in the morning and the jail staff extended greetings on the occasion of Eid, as is the practice on every festival. Jail officials say that these prisoners may have difficulties in acclimatizing to the Uttar Pradesh weather conditions.