During the time of the incident, around 525 inmates that included leaders and activists of Jamaat-e-Islami, Public Safety Act (PSA) detainees, and militant prisoners were lodged in the central jail.
Overcrowded then with prisoners, against the jail’s capacity for some 350 inmates, the inmate population has now been reduced. According to a prison department official, hundreds of detainees have been shifted to jails in Kathua, Kupwara, Baramulla, Mattan, and Anantnag. “The current inmate population in the jail is around 316,” he added.
According to a report by Rising Kashmir, Yasir Ahmad (name changed), the brother of one such inmate was informed by authorities of his shifting only when he went to the central jail to visit him. Likewise, most of the shifting was done without informing the families of the inmates concerned. Relatives of inmates have seemingly been traveling all across the valley in pursuit of those that were shifted elsewhere.
Restoration works of the two barracks that were burnt down on April 5, along with damaged surveillance equipment is still ongoing. Due to the central jail’s proximity to residential settlements, proposals have been made to shift the highly guarded age-old jail elsewhere, away from the city. (RK)