Jammu and Kashmir bypolls: Police recover cellphones from Baramulla district jail, suspect inmates' role in unrest

The Kashmir police on Sunday recovered 14 cell phones and incriminating material from the possession of jail inmates in north Kashmir's Baramulla district. The police claim that they also recovered two cellphones from the hard-line Hurriyat leader, Masarat Alam Bhat, who is currently lodged in the district jail and has been under detention since 2010.

Alam is a firebrand separatist leader who was influential in the 2010 unrest in the Kashmir Valley and despite courts realising him on bail, the Jammu and Kashmir police rearrested him again.

The cell phones mostly belonged to inmates involved in militancy and stone-pelting cases. The police claim that the inmates were in touch with people outside the Valley, thus helping to foment trouble across the Valley.

Cell phones and other gadgets recovered during raid in Baramulla district jail. Image courtesy: Sameer Yasir

Cell phones recovered during a raid in Baramulla district jail. Image courtesy: Sameer Yasir

"We carried out a raid on the premises and searched the jail premises during which we recovered 14 cell phones from the inmates. Cell phones were also recovered from Bhat,” Senior Superintendent of Police, Imtiyaz Hussain Mir, told Firstpost on phone from Baramulla.

The police recovered two cell phones from the separatist leader after they received specific inputs that cell phones and other incriminating material were being used by inmates of the Baramulla jail.

“Most of the phones were recovered from those who are into militancy and stone-pelting,” Mir added.

The raid came few days after militants ransacked the house of a police official, who was posted in Baramulla jail, warning him to mend his ways and not harass the inmates.

Last year, in November, several inmates including some police personnel were injured during clashes between police and jail inmates inside the Baramulla jail. The prisoners had attempted to set ablaze the main gate of the jail which was extinguished by the cops. The clashes started after one of the prisoners complained that he was not offered proper health care despite repeatedly complaining of pain during urination.

Kashmir police, sources say, suspect that inmates have been using these cell phones to talk to their handlers across the Line of Control in Pakistan.

“We are also looking into the possibility that these people might have been mobilising the crowds during encounters recently," a jail official told Firstpost on phone from Baramulla.

The police have registered FIR and are now investigating how did the cell phones reach inside the jail premises, despite high-security arrangements.

Incidentally, militants have barged into the house of police officials, at least three times in last ten days, advising them to leave their jobs and not harass the families of the militants.

The police have also launched a crackdown on stone-pelters throughout the Valley ahead of by-polls in the two parliamentary constituencies of Srinagar and Anantnag.

Updated Date: Apr 02, 2017 19:39 PM

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