A day after a riot, Hyderabad Central Jail 1 started relocating at least 400 trouble-making prisoners across the province in a bid to break them up.
During a press conference at the jail on Wednesday, the newly appointed superintendent Pir Shabbir Jan Sirhindi said that the inmates will be relocated to jails in Karachi, Jacobabad, Khairpur and Sukkur. On Tuesday, the prisoners took four jailers hostage during a riot that started over gas, electricity and water supplies.
Sirhindi said that the police tried to release the hostages but the prisoners opened fire at them. When the police retaliated, seven inmates — Jumman Shah, Khair Muhammad, Abdul Haq, Abdul Aziz, Muhammad Shafiq Rajput, Abdullah Mari and Aftab Magsi — were killed and over 48 were injured. The bodies were taken to Civil Hospital, Hyderabad, where 15 injured inmates were also admitted. Some families took away the bodies for burial. A judicial inquiry into the operation has started.
The post-riot search operation for weapons, drugs and cell phones continued on Wednesday and an FIR against at least 900 prisoners was lodged at Baldia police station. The police seized three kilogrammes of cannabis, over 600 mobile phones, weapons and alcohol.
Hyderabad DPO Pir Farid Jan Sirhindi said that the operation was conducted on the request of the jail superintendent. He said that crime levels in the central jail had become high. Cases of kidnapping for ransom and other crimes were planned inside.
“If we had not carried out the operation, the jail would have broken down,” he said. “We are trying to check if the seven prisoners who died were killed in firing by the police or their fellow inmates,” he added.
No prisoner was targeted and killed during the operation because if that were the case, there are far too many hardened criminals who would have been targeted, he said. According to jail records, all the prisoners who died were involved in kidnapping for ransom, murder and other heinous crimes.
Meanwhile, activists of the Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz and Pakistan Peoples Party – Shaheed Bhutto group held a protest to condemn the killings and the operation. The protesters blocked the National Highway outside the jail.
One protester said that there was a conspiracy behind the operation and the police have violated human rights by killing unarmed prisoners and torturing others.
The protesters demanded the authorities initiate an inquiry against the relevant officers.
Several family members of the prisoners also stood outside the jail on Wednesday to receive information on their injured relatives but Hyderabad Central Jail 1 and Nara Jail were both sealed and no one was allowed to meet the prisoners.