The Pakistani national,who was killed by a fellow prisoner in a Jammu jail just days after the death of Indian national Sarabjit Singh in a similar attack in Lahores Kot Lakhpat jail in May this year,was undergoing life imprisonment for two terror attacks in 1994 that took place while he was in police custody,according to information gathered by The Indian Express from the J&K Police and state prisons department.
According to police records submitted in court,Sanaullah,who was from Dalowali village in Sialkot district of Pakistan,had also confessed to having carried out at least 10 more explosions in Jammu city and its outskirts in 1994.
All these explosions,in which dozens of people were killed and injured,took place during the time Sanaullah was still in police custody,awaiting deportation to Pakistan after completing a three-year sentence for crossing the border illegally in 1989. According to the procedure in such cases,after serving sentence,the person has to be in police custody till the time he is deported.
The deportation process can take up to months,or even years,as was the case with Sanaullah.
In reply to an application filed by The Indian Express under the Right to Information Act,asking when Sanaullah,son of Rehmat Ali of Dalowali,was first arrested,police said they had not arrested any such person. But,they said,one Sanaullah,son of Ashiq Hussain of Dalowali in Sialkot,was arrested in 1996 on charges of illegally entering India from across the border in RS Pura area.
The prisons department,however,in reply to a separate RTI application filed by The Indian Express,admitted that Sanaullah,son of Rehmat Ali of Dalowali village in Sialkot,was lodged in its district jail at Ambphalla between 1989 and 1992. He was first brought there on September 9,1989 as an undertrial and after 45 days detained under the Public Safety Act for two years on an order from the District Magistrate.
After completion of his two years detention under PSA on October 23,1991,he continued to remain in jail for one more year to complete the three-year imprisonment awarded to him in the meantime by a court on charges of illegally crossing the border. Further his lodgment is not traceable, the prison department said in its reply.
That both the Sanaullahs the one who spent three years in the district jail from 1989 and the other whom police claimed to have arrested first time only in 1996 were the same was confirmed by Sanaullah himself in a chance meeting with this reporter during a music performance in Jammus high-security Kot Bhalwal prison in February,just months before his death.
Sanaullah,who was a member of jail band,had narrated his story right from his first arrest as a border-crosser in 1989 to his re-arrest in 1996 and then in 1998 leading to his conviction in the terror cases. He had said that after his release from the Ambphalla jail in 1992,he was taken to Kanachak police station for some months and then to a joint interrogation centre. Finally,he was again taken to RS Pura police station where he stayed for two years. In the meantime,militancy had spread to Jammu,Sanaullah had said.
As his stay at the police station got prolonged and there appeared no immediate chances of his deportation,he said,police re-arrested him as a border-crosser in 1996 and sent him to jail where he spent nine months and nine days. He returned to RS Pura police station again and spent another two years for deportation until he got arrested by police on charges of engineering the 1994 bomb explosions.
About his involvement in the 1994 attacks,police had told the trial court that his name surfaced during questioning of one Karam Chand in another terror case registered at RS Pura police station in 1998.
Claiming that there used to be a bomb explosion in Jammu whenever Sanaullah crossed over to Indian side from Pakistan,Karam Chand had told police that he can identify him. On his identification,police picked up Sanaullah from the RS Pura police station where he was awaiting deportation.
Police told the trial court that Sanaullah confessed to having engineered 12 bomb explosions in Jammu city and its outskirts. He was produced before the then Judicial Magistrate,1st Class,RS Pura,M K Sharma,on May 19,1998. The magistrate sent him to judicial custody for two days before recording his confession and from Central Jail,Jammu,he was re-produced before it on May 21.
He was then charged with engineering nearly a dozen explosions in Jammu city and its outskirts including the one in a Matador which killed seven passengers and injured 16 people near Satwari on July 16,1994. He was also charged with engineering another explosion inside a bus which killed 10 people and injured 43 others near Pir Baba shrine at Ramnagar on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway on November 28,1994.
In both the cases,the court of 3rd Additional Sessions Judge,Jammu,on the basis of his confession statement recorded before a judicial magistrate,awarded him life sentence on September 25,2009.