Incident at Central Jail, Srinagar Normalcy restored, probe ordered to be conducted by DC Srinagar

Inmates at Central Jail, Srinagar mob-attacked the Jail premises last evening damaging property worth several lakhs including vital infrastructure and surveillance equipment while attempting to break-open the jail gates.

The incident was reported at 2100 Hrs last evening when on receipt of information from the Superintendent Central Jail a team of officers including Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Sub-Divisional Police Officer and SHOs was rushed to spot by the authorities in Srinagar.

The situation turned volatile as the inmates used inflammables to attack and damage the security grid of the central jail. More than 400 inmates from 10 barracks in the central area of jail broke open the internal gates and gathered to carry out damage to the entry/exit points in an attempt to escape. Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Shahid Iqbal Choudhary and Sr Superintendent of Police Haseeb Mughal rushed to the spot and reviewed the situation at 2230Hrs .

The inmates gathered LPG cylinders from the common mess and triggered 4 blasts near the gate and corners of walls in an apparent attempt to break the security grid and escape. Massive stone pelting was resorted to as the construction material dumped inside jail for ongoing works was grabbed and used by the inmates to target the officers, security personnel and vehicles outside. Fire tenders were pressed into action to contain the fire and disperse crowd. The violent attacks from inside continued for the whole night while senior officers camped there to contain the situation. Despite announcements made on the loudspeakers the inmates didn’t relent.

Early morning, the authorities constituted a dozen odd teams to move inside which included police personnel, CRPF component, jail staff and magistrates. However after several hours of intervention the violent mob didn’t return to barracks and massive damage was inflicted to the infrastructure.

Later, Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Shahid Iqbal Choudhary held detailed deliberations with the representatives of inmates over a host of issues, in presence of DIG Central Kashmir, DIG CRPF, SSP Srinagar and other senior officers. The inmates were given to understand that no issues could be heard and redressed in backdrop of such a massive violence and attacks which had the potential of leading to fatalities, and conducive atmosphere was required to ascertain the factors involved in violence of this exceptional nature. The DC asked the inmates to move to into barracks.

After detailed deliberations the inmates were moved to barracks and discussion held with all concerned. In view of massive damages to Government property an inter-departmental team comprised of PWD, PHE and PDD was deputed by the district administration for loss assessment and restoration work. The incident was triggered when the inmates resisted the move of jail administration for restoration of barracks which have been damaged over a period of time.

A spokesperson of the administration stated that some pictures were being circulated in social media indicating an alleged desecration inside central jail however fact of the matter remains that during entire night no security personnel, or officials, moved inside the barrack premises and all the issues raised by the inmates are being ascertained however violence and mob-attack of such a level cannot be condoned.

A probe is being conducted into the matter by Deputy Commissioner Srinagar who interacted with inmates at Central Jail also inspected the damages done to Jail infrastructure, apart from ascertain the sequel of events leading to this incident. Meanwhile, police have lodged an FIR into the incident. The Government is further examining the matter.

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