Inmates set barracks on fire and damaged property after a clash broke out at the central jail in Srinagar on Thursday evening. Two inmates were injured in the clash. Normalcy was restored on the premises on Friday, said officials.
According to officials, when jail authorities tried to shift some inmates from their barracks due to ongoing renovation work, the inmates felt they were being shifted out of Valley.
“There was tension between inmates and jail authorities for some time. The inmates were also upset with the decision to replace visits to court for hearings with video conferencing. Thursday’s incident was a trigger, leading to huge protests by inmates,” said a senior administrative official.
He said massive protests took place inside the jail and subsequently, the inmates set several barracks on fire and ransacked the mess.
A J&K government statement said “…mob attacked the jail premises, damaging property, including vital infrastructure and surveillance equipment in an attempt to break open the jail gates.”
The statement said the incident took place around 9 pm on Thursday and the situation turned volatile as the inmates used “inflammables to attack and damage the security grid of the central jail”.
The inmates also resorted to stone-pelting, said the statement.
Sources said the security personnel resorted to use of tear gas and pellet guns to control the situation.
Sources said 400 inmates are lodged at the jail. “Most of them are undertrials. Many of the barracks and the mess area are damaged. We are planning to shift many inmates to jails in different districts,” the official said.
On Friday morning, officials said they constituted nearly a dozen teams to move inside — these teams comprised policemen, CRPF, jail staff and magistrates. Senior officials held a meeting with representatives of the inmates.
Officials denied an alleged desecration inside central jail. Superintendent of central jail Srinagar, Mukesh Kumar, refused to comment on the matter. Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, will probe the matter, said officials.