PESHAWAR: A clash between police and under-trial prisoners on Thursday morning left six persons, including three policemen, injured in the Peshawar Central Prison.
Some prisoners held a police official, Qurban Ali, hostage in a barrack and severely beat him up after he allegedly took a copy of the Holy Quran from them during a search operation last night.
A police source, asking not to be named, told Dawn that when the prisoners declined to free the official, police used batons and teargas, and fired in the air to disperse them.
The protesting prisoners threw stones and pieces of bricks at police, forcing them to leave the barracks. They also chanted slogans against police.
The clash also led to suspension of traffic on the Sher Shah Suri Road for one hour as heavy contingents of police moved to the area, cordoning off the whole area and the Jail Road to thwart any possible attack from militants.
The source said the main cause of the clash was permission of using cellular phones to prisoners.
He said the number of hardcore militants was fast increasing in the jail and most of them were using mobile phones freely.
He said the injured people were taken to the jail hospital for first aid.
Due to the clashes, visitors were not allowed to meet their relatives in the prison.
IGP (prisons) Tanveerul Haq Sipra told reporters on the jail premises that no prisoner had received injuries, adding the clash occurred due to mismanagement during a search operation.
He said authorities concerned had conducted searched the prisoners last night, which the prisoners took as insult and when the policeman entered the barrack in the morning they attacked him.
He said militants were also being kept in the prison and they also reacted in the meanwhile. However, he also termed the jail authorities’ response and use of teargas and batons overreaction and mismanagement.
He said the militants were trying to intimidate the jail staff, adding the prison was overcrowded. He, however, said the situation was under control. The search in the jail, he said, would continue, adding those creating law and order situation would be dealt with sternly.
Mr Sipra said an FIR had been registered against 26 prisoners and an inquiry would be conducted into the matter.