Srinagar: Clashes followed by fire broke in the Central Jail in the downtown Srinagar, where police had to use force which left two inmates injured while three baracks were also set ablaze, official sources said.
They said there were clashes between inmates and forces inside the jail late Thursday night.
Mobile internet has been suspended in most parts of the city.
Residents near the jail said over phone that there was fire in the jail after clashes.
‘We heard loud explosions and firing from the jail,’ they said, adding that later security forces and state police personnel were deployed in nearby areas to prevent any demonstration.
Sources said fire tenders were rushed from different parts of the city, including Fire and Emergency headquarters, Batamloo to control the leaping flames, which were visible from a distance in the jail.
It was not immediately clear why the clashes took place, they said, adding that the cause of fire was also not known.
A building, two barracks and kitchen of the jail were damaged in the fire.
At least two inmates were reportedly injured amid massive clashes by inmates at the jail following which the authorities have imposed restrictions in old city parts here and reduced internet speed in entire Srinagar, Anantnag and Kulgam districts.
They official sources said late Thursday evening when authorities started to move some jail inmates from a particular barrack for their shifting “within the jail”, there was hue and cry as the inmates felt that they are being moved outside the state.
“The particular barrack along with some other barracks were to be renovated and the jail inmates were being shifted to other barracks till the renovation would have been completed. However there was suddenly a hue and cry and rumours that the inmates were being shifted out of the Kashmir valley,” official sources said.
The inmates, they said, burnt a temporary shelter and tried to come to the outer cordon of the jail which is located in the Srinagar’s downtown area of the city, they said.
Senior police officers including DIG, SSP Srinagar besides Deputy Commissioner Srinagar reached the spot and tried to control the situation.
The authorities also rushed additional companies of the 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 the control but “hue and cry” by the inmates continued. CCTV cameras have also been damaged. The government forces also fired teargas shells and resorted to pellet firing to bring the situation to normal. In the process, they said, two inmates have been injured.
Meanwhile, authorities have imposed restrictions in parts of Srinagar’s Old city including Nowhatta which houses the historic Jamia Masjid.
Reports said that barricades have been erected at several places and people are not being allowed to move.
The authorities also reduced the internet speed across the summer capital of the state and also with south Kashmir districts of Kulgam and Anantnag.
Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Sahid Iqbal Choudhary on Friday said that he was personally inquiring into the incident involving massive clashes by jail inmates amid damage to a building and at least three barracks at Srinagar’s central jail.
“I’m personally inquiring. I’m here (central jail Srinagar) since last 9 p.m,” he told GNS. He said that there was “massive damage done by the inmates.”