On Wednesday, three children, the oldest of them 12 years old, queued up at the gates of Sher-i-Kashmir International Conference Centre (SKICC) and followed their mother inside. “We have come to meet Ali Mohammad Sagar, our grandfather,” said the eldest.
Outside Centaur Hotel, people requested guards to allow them to meet incarcerated relatives or party colleagues. However, following a new decision by the administration, only parents, spouses and siblings were being allowed inside.
The rules were changed on September 22 after a review meeting by the state’s home department. Officials said the move is aimed at “maintaining sanctity of the sub-jail since huge crowds were seen gathering outside”.
In the weeks since the Centre scrapped Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, the Centaur Hotel complex was designated a subsidiary-jail. Prior to the changes that became effective last week, party workers and even distant relatives were allowed to meet leaders held inside. In the first 55 days, nearly 2,300 visitors met 44 detainees. As of Thursday, there are 33 detainees at the complex.
As per the new rules, visitors will be allowed inside twice a week — Wednesdays and Saturdays — between 11 am and 2 pm. There is a common television set for the detainees and an ambulance is stationed inside the complex for medical emergencies. Relatives outside told The Indian Express that any item other than a person’s identity card and a change of clothes for the detainees is barred.
NC leader Tanvir Sadiq’s mother emerged from the gates after meeting him. “He is fine. His son too met him last week,” she said.
The release from detention, under Section 107 of CrPC, is subject to signing of a bond for maintaining peace. Officials also said all 12 people released from the subsidiary jail have complied with this condition, adding that more releases “can be expected soon”.