The intelligence agencies fear that the terrorists lodged in various jails across the country are a threat to their common inmates. The agencies feel that terrorists in the jails are converting the common prisoners into ‘jihadis’.
The intelligence agencies also mentioned that it was seen that some of the common prisoners living in close proximity with the terrorists in these jails also became terrorists after coming out of the jail.
In order to keep the common prisoners away from these hardcore terrorists, the Home Ministry is planning to create a high-security prison in every state where these terrorists will be placed.
According to the reports, there have been many such cases in the recent past, where these terrorists have terrorized common prisoners and turned many of them into jihadis. It has been often seen that the common prisoners lodged in the jail for minor offences become friendly to these hardcore criminals lodged in the same jail and these terrorists, in turn, introduce these small criminals to their masterminds or handlers. As soon as they come out of jail, these common prisoners become dangerous terrorists.
According to intelligence agencies, the risk of the highest radicalization is from the prisons located in Srinagar and Jammu.
Last year, when the National Investigation Agency (NIA) raided the Central Jail in Srinagar and conducted a large-scale search operation, the prison officials discovered the Pakistani flag, 25 cellphones, posters of Lashkar and Hizbul and jihadi literature from the jail.
All high-risk terrorists lodged in Srinagar Central Jail had then been shifted to prisons outside the Kashmir Valley.
The Union Home Ministry, for these reasons, has been since 2015, planning to construct such secluded jails exclusively for terrorists. It had asked all states to set up new security prisons outside cities for exclusively housing terrorists and said till that is not feasible, movement of high-risk prisoners should be restricted inside jails to stop them from indoctrinating other prisoners.
In a letter dated April 28, 2015, Kumar Alok, who was then the Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs, had written to the Principal Secretaries of all states saying such measures need “serious consideration for being implemented on priority” based on the current security challenges faced by the jail administrations of various states. The segregation of terrorists in separate jails to be constructed outside city limits could be a first for the country.
The Home Ministry had also suggested that there should be arrangements made of the court’s hearing through video conferencing in case of high-risk prisoners.
It had further pressed for installation of CCTV cameras, mobile jammers with state of the art prison surveillance system and enforcement of a regular security classification protocol for screening and risk assessment of prisoners so that level of security within a prison is categorized in terms of risk to prisoners.