Govt Mulls Shifting Central Jail Srinagar To City Outskirts

SRINAGAR — Soon after the culmination of crucial parliamentary polls and the proposed Assembly elections likely to be held in June this year before the commencement of Amarnath pilgrimage, the Jammu and Kashmir government in thorough consultations with the Ministry of Home Affairs will take a final call over shifting of the “congested Srinagar Central Jail to city outskirts.” 

A preliminary exercise has already been carried out but the plan has been put on hold in the wake of on-going Parliamentary polls and the possibility of Assembly polls already due, taking place in June ahead of the Yatra, a top official in the MHA in New Delhi was quoted as saying by a local news agency. 

He said after the series of deliberations with the State security officials including those from the Prisons department, it was found that Srinagar Central Jail was congested, having less space given the old structure in place since the times of Maharaja Hari Singh and above all security concerns were major reasons why the jail was to be shifted to “safer location.” 

“The State government has already identified a few places in Bemina, Soura, 90-feet, near Pampore while there are a few more sites available where the brand new Central Jail can come up with all the modern facilities for the inmates as well as the jail staff,” the official told the agency. 

Sources in the State’s prison department revealed that the security audit conducted for all the jails in the State last year, had suggested that Central Jail Srinagar was a building in shambles with cracks in walls and improper ventilation for the prisoners. “The apartments for the jail staff were also found unsafe,” sources privy to the audit had pointed out. 

They said that it was because of the audit pin pointed serious drawbacks in the Srinagar Central jail, new construction of barracks was taken up on war footing for the safety of inmates, but unfortunately prisoners objected to shifting to new barracks and instead “created ruckus recently.” 

According to the last year’s audit, the boundary walls of Central jail were also found in shambles in many places raising security concerns. Recently, two prisoners were injured and jail infrastructure damaged after a scuffle between the inmates and jail authorities inside Central Jail. 

Police had to lodge an FIR into the incident and since then prisoners are on a protest and not meeting their relatives until a counter FIR is lodged against Jail authorities. A team of lawyers from the High Court Bar association had visited the Jail and termed the condition of inmates as subdued and pathetic. 

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