Review cases of youths involved in stone-pelting,before Eid:CM

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday asked the Home Department to review before Eid the cases of the youth lodged in various jails on charges of stone-pelting to afford them an opportunity to rebuild their careers.

A committee comprising Director General of Police, Director General of Prisons and Principal Secretary Home will review the cases of all the youth under-trials lodged in various jails on charges of stone-pelting to give them an opportunity to live as productive citizens, she said while chairing a high-level meeting here this morning regarding bringing about Reforms in J&K s Prisons.

Mehbooba also asked Director General of Police K Rajendra Kumar to take up the matter regarding deportation of a mentally challenged Pakistani national to his country who is lodged in a jail in the state for having inadvertently crossed the LoC.

“Why has been the person kept in jail for so long, when he is not only deaf and dumb, but mentally deranged also,” she asked saying the state and its law enforcing agencies should not be seen acting in such a callous manner and be more humane in their approach.

Stressing the need for review and upgradation of the Jail Manual in the State, the Chief Minister said the review, which is already over due, should be aimed at making the prisons “centres of reformation” and not the places of punishment.

She also called for identification of alternate site in the periphery of Srinagar city for shifting of Central Jail from its existing location in Kathidarwaza area of the Shahr-e-Khaas.

She asked Director General of Prisons to coordinate with the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir for identification of an alternate site and come up with a report within seven days.

Mehbooba said once the Central Jail Srinagar is shifted, the existing establishment in the Old City could be converted into a multi-utility recreational-cum-sports facility while some part could be also developed as an exclusive Handicrafts Promotion Centre.

She said directions have already been given regarding identification of suitable land in Jammu also for shifting of the Central Jail from the core area of the city.

Stressing the need for imparting skill training to the jail inmates, the Chief Minister said the government would bring the jails under the purview of the integrated Skill Development Mission.

Chief Minister said Financial Commissioner Planning and Development Department and Commissioner Secretary Industries and Commerce Department will coordinate the skill training of the jail inmates by establishing institutionalised Skill Development Centres in various jails.

“We should try to make productive use of the time the inmates spend in prisons by imparting them education and skill training so that once they come out, they gel with the social milieu immediately and earn respectable livelihood,” she said.

Efforts should be made to match the trades, in which training is imparted, to the needs of the society so that on release from prisons these individuals can not only adjust in the society but also get gainful employment, she added.

She said some of the jail inmates can be also trained in making furniture and furnishings and if they are able to produce quality products, the government departments will be asked to make maximum purchases from such jails which have developed the capacity for large-scale production.

The Chief Minister also asked the Youth Services and Sports Department to create additional sports and recreational facilities in the jails for the inmates.

She said the period spent by under-trials and convicts in jails must be utilised to the benefit of the inmates.

Responding to the plea of Director General of Prisons that there were not many qualified teachers and Vocational Training Instructors available in jails, she asked the Commissioner Secretary Education and Secretary Technical Education to provide the necessary staff to all the jails and also design a sustainable and workable educational curriculum for the inmates.

Mehbooba also called for providing adequate medical, correctional and supervisory staff to all the jails, besides organising regular health awareness programmes in the jails.

She said the new Jail at Pulwama, to be opened soon, should become a model of reformation and a model prison instead of being a traditional jail.

Earlier, the Director General of Prisons S P Vaid, through a detailed power point presentation, informed the CM about the status of various jails, the number of inmates, infrastructure requirement and other issues related to prison management.

The DG Prisons said there are presently 14 jails in J&K, out of which nine are in Jammu and five in Kashmir with a total lodging capacity of 3031 inmates. He said 3 new jails are coming up at Pulwama, Bhaderwah and Kargil.

Vaid said 2367 people including 2268 men and 99 women are lodged in various jails of the state. These include 192 inmates involved in militancy related cases.