The arrest of former deputy superintendent of Srinagar jail Feroz Ahmad Lone (currently posted in Jammu) on Tuesday by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on charges of facilitating recruitment of youth in various terrorist outfits and sending them to Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) for arms training has apparently exposed loopholes in functioning of jails in Jammu and Kashmir. Several top terrorists are lodged there.
According to NIA sources Lone and a terrorist recruiter Ishaq Palla, lodged in Srinagar jail, allegedly motivated inmates and others to pick up the gun.
The arrests were reportedly made following interrogation of two youths ~ Suhail Ahmad Bhat and Danish Ghulam Lone ~ who were arrested near the Line of Control (LoC) in Kupwara on 30 October, 2017 while they were trying to cross over to PoK for arms training. They are reported to have named Palla for having motivated them to join ranks with terrorists.
According to NIA, Lone actively assisted Palla in the conspiracy while he was posted in Srinagar jail.
The meeting between the arrested youth and Palla was unauthorisedly arranged in the Srinagar jail on 25 October last year. It is learnt that the NIA initially questioned four officials of the jail but later zeroed in on Lone who allowed Palla to indulge in terror recruitment activity.
The accused persons were in touch with each other through the Blackberry messenger during the whole of October, the NIA said.
It may be recalled that a top Pakistani terrorist, Javed Jatt, had last year escaped while he was being taken to hospital from Srinagar jail. Fingers were raised on his escape and connivance of some insiders alleged taking note of the fact that a couple of terrorists had arrived at the hospital to facilitate the escape of Javed. The incident led to killing of two policemen.
Javed is reported to be currently engaged a series of killing of innocent civilians and policemen, particularly in South Kashmir. His name cropped up in the killing of a Srinagar journalist Shujaat Bukhari after he escaped from jail. Javed was recently spotted in a funeral procession of a slain terrorist.
During a raid at Srinagar jail in March this year by 20 teams of the NIA, assisted by NSG, CRPF and J&K Police, 25 mobile phones, SIM cards, 5 SD cards, 5 pen-drives, one i-pod, a Pakistani flag, posters of Hizbul Mujahideen terror outfit and large number of incriminating documents were seized.
The search of the jail was carried out following interrogation of the two newly recruited militants who were arrested in Kupwara. During investigations, the police learnt that recruitment of Al- Badr terrorists was also done in the jail.
The DGP of J&K Prisons, Dilbagh Singh, had then claimed to have personally visited every jail of the state to streamline their functioning.