Srinagar: Major clashes between inmates and government forces broke out in the highly secured Central Jail Srinagar on Friday, prompting the government to impose restrictions in downtown areas and suspend mobile internet.
Ruckus erupted in the facility after prisoners were directed by the jail staff to shift to an adjacent barrack, to carry out renovation in some barracks. This triggered a tussle as the inmates suspected they might be shifted to jails outside the Valley.
A police official said that the inmates went on a “rampage, setting on fire gas cylinders and vandalising jail property”. At least two barracks and the jail mess were set on fire, he said.
The situation has been brought under control, he said, adding that senior officials from both civil and police were monitoring the situation.
Senior police officers including the DIG and SSP Srinagar, besides Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, reached the spot and tried to control the situation, he said.
The inmates burnt a temporary shelter and tried to come to the outer cordon of the jail, which is located in Srinagar’s downtown area, officials said.
The authorities also rushed additional companies of paramilitary CRPF to the jail to bring the situation under control, they said.
However, the protests by the inmates continued throughout the night amid gas cylinder blasts. Three barracks and a building suffered damage. The fire has been brought under control but the “hue and cry” from the inmates continues, reports said. CCTV cameras have also been damaged in the jail. The government forces had to fire teargas shells and pellet guns to bring the situation under control.
Meanwhile, the authorities imposed restrictions in downtown areas and did not allow Friday prayers at Srinagar’s historic Jamia Masjid, where Mirwaiz Umar Farooq addressees from the pulpit every Friday. Internet was also suspended but was restored later in the evening.