The Jammu and Kashmir prison department has decided to shift all hardened prisoners out of the Kashmir valley after a directive to this direction was issued to it by the Union home ministry. The move follows the recent escape of a Lashkar commander from Pakistan, Naveed Jatt, from a Srinagar hospital. The NIA is already looking into how he escaped and also investigating possible connivance on the part of the jail staff and fellow prison inmates. 

The J&K prison department recently issued an order for shifting 40 militants and their sympathisers, including some Pakistani nationals, out of the Srinagar Central Jail. Among them are three Pakistani militants including Zia Mustafa, who was accused of killing 24 Kashmiri Pandits in Nadimarg in 2003. After the escape of Naveed Jatt, the state government had transferred DG prisons S.K Mishra. An internal CID inquiry has shown that Srinagar Central Jail had become a hub of militant recruitments and there were reportedly hundreds of mobile phones inside the jail. 

The Home ministry recently asked the state government to review the security measures in all the jails of J&K and asked the government to beef up security while transporting such militants in or out of J&K. 

The state home department has asked its prison department to immediately order the shifting of such militants from Srinagar, who could be potential threats for jail break attempts. The removed director general of prisons S.K. Mishra has alleged that he had communicated to the state home department about the urgency to shift prisoners and clean the Central Jail in Srinagar but received no positive response. The initial probe into the jail break incident has indicted that the prosecution wing of the J&K police and commissioner secretary (home) had turned a deaf ear to Mishra’s concerns.

A senior J&K prisons department official told this reporter that so far they have ordered the shifting of 40 prisoners and they were also preparing a second list of 20 prisoners who would be moved out of the Kashmir.

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