SMHS Shootout: Prisons security to be reviewed in JK in aftermath of militant escape

Srinagar: The government is going to review security of all prisons in Jammu and Kashmir, after the Superintendent of the Central Jail, Srinagar has been suspended by the Government after the Lashkar militant Naved Jutt escaped on Wednesday after a brief shootout at the SMHS hospital.

In the shootout, two policemen died.

To ensure that prisoners do not escape from police custody, government is going for review security of all prisons. “The directions may go all jail authorities across JK to ensure that prisoners do not escape,” a police official said. The official said that most prisons in Jammu and Kashmir are ‘over crowded’ with prisoners and are ‘vulnerable’ for detainees to escape from lock-ups.

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“Security review is necessary to ensure that all security arrangements are taken in the high security prisons,” the official said. In Jammu and Kashmir, there are 14 jails functional out of which 2 are central jails, 10 are district jails and 2 are sub jails whose intake capacity is around 3000. While most of them remain ‘over-crowded’ with prisoners, the police have been putting up arrestees in police stations for days together which are “vulnerable” for detainees to escape from lock-ups.

The security system in prisons was also reviewed in 2016 following two incidents of jail breaks in the country. “The security was reviewed after directives from ministry of Home Affairs to JK government that there is no lapse on part of the jail authorities which could pave the way for prisoners’ to escape,” an official of Home Department said. Now again security would be reviewed.

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“Although the team was satisfied in 2016 with the security but noticed several loopholes. The team submitted it report on which the action is being taken,” the official said.

The official said that there had been chances that minor scuffles could turn into major clashes as barracks of most of the prisons in Jammu and Kashmir are packed over to the capacity. “Government wants to ensure that adequate security is in place in prisons,” the official said. “The team in 2016 inspected whether the CCTV cameras were properly functioning and modern gadgets were in place,” he said.

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(With inputs from KNS)

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