A Pakistani national serving a life sentence in the Jaipur Central Jail was killed Wednesday in a brawl with other inmates allegedly over the volume on a television set. Officials said four other inmates assaulted him with a stone slab.
Shakarullah alias Mohammad Hanif alias Amar Singh Gill, aged around 45 years old, was killed by four other prisoners lodged in ward 10 of the Jaipur Central Jail at around 1:20 pm. Officials said that Shakarullah and eight others were inside room number 58, within ward number 10, when a fight broke out.
Hours after he was killed, Pakistan expressed concern and sought a response from India on the incident, according to PTI. Pakistan’s Foreign Office (FO) said he was beaten to death by a group of Indian inmates in retaliation to the Pulwama incident. “Pakistan is gravely concerned at media reports regarding the brutal killing of a Pakistani prisoner,” the FO said. It said Pakistan’s High Commission in New Delhi has officially raised the issue with New Delhi and requested them to urgently authenticate the report. The response is still awaited, it added. Pakistan also called upon the Indian government to ensure security to all Pakistani prisoners lodged in Indian jails as well as Pakistani visitors to India.
Rajasthan DG Prisons, N R K Reddy said the four convicts allegedly involved in the incident were “hardened criminals”. “Four convicts: Manoj, Ajeet, Kulvendra Gujjar and Bhajan Meena were watching television while Shakarullah was sitting with the remaining four inside room number 58. For security purposes, the room is locked from outside. The men were watching a song on high volume when, at around 1:20 pm, Shakarullah objected. This led to an argument between the four and Shakarullah,” he said.
One of the four convicts then allegedly picked up a slab inside the room and fatally hit Shakarullah on his head. The slab was earlier used for box television sets; while the television had been replaced with an LED set, the slab was still kept in the room.
Officials said that an investigation will be conducted into the killing under the National Human Right Commission (NHRC) guidelines. While an FIR was being filed under Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code, officials said that a magisterial inquiry will also be conducted under Section 176 of the CrPC.
Reddy, who visited the jail after the incident, denied claims that the attack was motivated by the Pulwama terror attack, where 40 CRPF jawans were killed in a suicide attack by a Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist. “A couple of days ago, all the jail inmates had paid homage to the martyrs of the Pulwama attack,” said Reddy.
Condemning the killing, the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) said that there are at least 17 Pakistani prisoners lodged in Rajasthan jails, including six in Jaipur, five in Bikaner, three in Sri Ganganagar, two in Jodhpur and one in Kota.
Shakarullah was a resident of Jasarwala village, under the Daska police station limits, in Pakistan’s Sialkot. According to officials, he was among eight persons – including three Pakistan nationals – who were arrested in 2010 under The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. He was convicted in 2017 and was serving a life sentence.
In November 2017, a Jaipur court had found three Pakistan nationals, Shakarullah, Asghar Ali, and Mohammad Iqbal along with Rajasthan residents Babu alias Nishachandra Ali, Arun Kumar Jain, Hafiz Abdul Majeed, Qabil Khan and Pawan Puri guilty under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). In 2018, they were found guilty of being part of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and conspiring to carry out terror activities in India and sentenced to life in prison
The Rajasthan Special Operations Group (SOG) FIR in October 2010 had said the three Pakistanis incited others to get training at LeT camps in Pakistan.
According to Special Public Prosecutor Mahaveer Prasad Jindal, the men, including Shakarullah, had planned to carry out a terror strikes in Jaipur during Dussehra in 2010 and planned to attack Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray, VHP president Praveen Togadia “and other Hindu leaders.”
Advocate Paker Farooq, who had represented Shakarullah and four others in the trial court, said that the Shakarullah was serving time in a Punjab jail under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS) when he was arrested by Rajasthan police. “He had almost completed his sentence and was to go back to Pakistan. However, he was implicated in UAPA case,” Farooq told The Indian Express.