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Pak prisoners brainwashing locals in Jammu: J&K to Supreme Court

Not only has the state requested to transfer them out to Tihar Jail in Delhi, but also demanded that their trial, pending before the Additional Sessions Judge, Jammu also be shifted to any Delhi court

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The Jammu and Kashmir government has approached the Supreme Court with a request to transfer out eight high security terrorists (including those of Pakistani origin) from Jammu jail to Delhi following intelligence inputs that they are radicalising and mobilising young local inmates.

Coming close on the heels of Pulwama terror attacks, a bench of Justices LN Rao and MR Shah issued notice based on the petition of the state and sought response from the alleged terrorists within four weeks.

On February 15, the court had issued a notice on a similar petition moved by state against one terrorist Zahid Farooq alias Rajinder. But on Friday, the state brought petitions against seven other prisoners.

The prisoners are Waqas Manzoor alias Qazir Umer, Zaffar Iqbal alias Umer, Mohammad Abdullah alias Abu Talla, Zubair Talha Zarrar alias Talha, Mohammad Ali Hussain, Hafeez Naveed Baloch and Zia Mustafa alias Ubaz Abdullah Ummair.

Some of these prisoners belong to Pakistan and all are currently lodged at Central Jail, Kot Bhalwal, the state claimed. It also shared confidential intelligence inputs showing how these persons are working in close coordination with similarly situated prisoners affiliated to Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed who have received training in indoctrinating other inmates and turn them against the state.

Not only has the state requested to transfer them out to Tihar Jail in Delhi, but also demanded that their trial, pending before the Additional Sessions Judge, Jammu also be shifted to any Delhi court.

"Foreign prisoners are radicalising and brainwashing local Kashmiri youth in prison...the effect of such radicalisation is that the brainwashed local youth are spreading the menace of terrorism and creating sympathisers when their local contacts are released or during visitor meetings etc," the state's plea said.

This local mobilization of support has been witnessed when these accused terrorists are produced in Court during trial. "Due to the presence of the accused prisoner and his local support group, there is a fear psychosis operating on the minds of the witnesses during their deposition. The said factors have the potential of impacting trials in as much as they prevent the prosecution witnesses from deposing freely and fully supporting the prosecution case.

Such transfer of prisoners is not new. The state had resorted to these steps in the past whenever it received intelligence inputs. With transfer of these prisoners to jails outside the state, the situation inside the jail has shown improvement.

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