M A I N   N E W S

Kot-Bhalwal jail riot leaves 36 injured
Tribune News Service

4 terrorists shifted

Four foreign terrorists were shifted on Sunday to various prisons in Punjab and Rajasthan from the Kot-Bhalwal jail.

According to the Director-General of Prisons, Mr M.K. Mohanty, these terrorists, belonging to Pakistan and Afghanistan, were shifted from here as they were inciting other inmates of the jail.

Meanwhile, sources said that two more SIM cards of mobile phones were recovered during search of the barracks in the afternoon.

Jammu, December 17
Fifteen policemen and 21 terrorists from Pakistan and Afghanistan were injured in day-long clashes, teargassing and lathi-charge by the police to quell violence inside the high-security jail at Kot-Bhalwal on the outskirts of the city here today.

The policemen were injured when terrorists attacked them with stones and iron rods.

One terrorist was seriously injured as he jumped from the rooftop to escape the lathi-charge. Terrorists pelted stones at the police, which initially maintained restraint. They also lobbed other missiles at the cops.

Reinforcements of the CRPF and armed police were rushed to the jail as the terrorists went on rampage, burning furniture and taking up positions on the rooftops of barracks, from where they shouted slogans against the police. Some of them carrying black flags raised religious slogans.

Trouble had been brewing inside the jail following the seizure of cellphones from the inmates about a fortnight ago. The Pakistani and Afghan terrorists thwarted efforts of the jail authorities to search the barracks for the past two days. They turned violent this morning when the jail staff, accompanied by the police, started searching the barracks at about 6.30 a.m.

The local militants also joined the foreign terrorists and captured the kitchen, from where they started throwing boiled water at the police. Some militants carried LPG cylinders and threatened to blow these up in case the police continued the search operation.

It is suspected that the foreign militants chose this time for fomenting trouble and attract world attention, as a team of the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) is scheduled to visit the jail tomorrow.

The DGP (Prisons), Mr M.K. Mohanty, IGP (Jammu range), Dr S.P.Vaid, Divisional Commissioner, Mr Parmod Jain, and other senior officials rushed to the jail to personally supervise the operations.

They told mediapersons in the evening that the situation had been brought under control. They said that teargas shells were burst and lathi-charge ordered when the inmates of the jail turned violent. The injured have been shifted to hospital.

About 300 militants, including about 50 from Pakistan and Afghanistan, are lodged in the jail.

Reports indicate that the terrorists were being given VIP treatment in the jail and care for their entertainment had been taken by providing TV sets and games to them. Allegations of a nexus between the jail staff and the inmates have also been received from time to time. Six top terrorists were recently shifted from here to other prisons in the country. The terrorists got emboldened when the authorities not only transferred but placed under suspension the then Jail Superintendent, Sheikh Rashid, who seized two cellphones from the inmates about a fortnight ago. Rashid had told mediapersons that he had been sending reports of such activities of inmates to his top brass.

The militants manhandled the Jail Superintendent and the warders whenever they tried to search the barracks. Reports were lodged with the police in this connection.

Mr Salim Beig, who was posted in his place, tried to restore discipline in the jail, but the militants were resisting his attempts for the past three days. About 300 inmates refused to return to their barracks last night and demanded that their relatives should be allowed to meet them every day.

Intelligence agencies are learnt to have sent reports from time to time about the pampering of the terrorists in the jail by the authorities concerned.



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