Jail riots claim lives of seven inmates in Hyderabad
HYDERABAD, March 15: Seven prisoners were killed and over 25 others injured in riots which broke out after police launched a massive operation in the central jail here on Tuesday.
The inmates were protesting against the suspension of supply of gas and electricity to their barracks.
A statement issued by the Hyderabad police said the operation had been launched after prisoners held seven policemen hostage and snatched two official Kalashnikovs.
It claimed that DSP Ahmed Qureshi, SHO Tariq Khanzada, SHO Ibrahim Itafi and ASI Irtiza Khan had been injured in the firing by prisoners. Condition of two of them is stated to be serious.
Police said a vast area of the jail had been cleared while in some barracks prisoners were resisting search.
The operation continued till late in the night and none of the bodies was brought to the Hyderabad Civil Hospital for legal formalities.
The jail administration sought the help of police who resorted to intense teargas shelling and firing. Prisoners dug a trench and attacked police. Rangers personnel remained on alert in the outer cordon.
Earlier in the day, IG Prisons Ghulam Qadir Thebo avoided confirming the death toll and only said there might be some casualties because some of the injured inmates were in serious condition.
Under-trial prisoners and convicts told journalists on their cellphones that the supply of gas and electricity remained suspended for the past two days. The prisoners climbed over the rooftops of their barracks as a mark of protest.
Around 1,700 inmates are lodged in the prison against a sanctioned strength of 1,527.
Chandni chowk — a popular area inside the jail — resembled a battlefield throughout the day. Policemen withdrawn from different police stations kept challenging the agitating prisoners.
The prisoners retaliated with stones and bricks or whatever substance they could get their hands on.
Policemen were mostly injured after being hit by bricks or stones.
“Inmates in large number went out of their barracks and attacked police,” said Market Police Station SHO Tariq Khanzada who was injured in the attack.
Family members and relatives of the prisoners converged outside the jail after news about the operation was aired by TV channels.
“My son is inside jail and I have learnt that he has been injured in riots,” said a weeping mother of Yusuf Wasan who was facing a murder case trial.
Four of the inmates killed in the operation were identified as Aziz Khoso, Nadir Magsi, Shafiq Rajput and Hakim Mallah.
The injured included Mohammad Ismail, a gunman of the Hyderabad DPO, Liaquat Detho, Mithal Khaskheli, Yusuf Wasan, Usman Khaskheli, Qasim Otho, Mohammad Mithal Khokhar, Altaf Khoso, Asim alias Cheena, Asif Qureshi, Mohammad Usman, Arab Khaskheli, Zafar Ali Talpur, Majeed Usman, Ghulam Khaskheli and Allah Jurio.
Fifteen of the injured were shifted to the Hyderabad Civil Hospital in late night.
According to a jail official, six pistols, one repeater, hundreds of cellphones and a large quantity of locally-made liquor were seized. “Three bodies are in the ‘maari’ (main entrance of the prison) and four in the jail hospital,” he said.
The operation evoked a serious reaction by activists of the Jeay Sindh Tahreek of Dr Safdar Sarki. They gathered outside the jail, burnt tyres, blocked the main road and pelted vehicles with stones.
They targeted police mobiles entering or leaving the jail premises and also attacked policemen. The protest caused a traffic jam on roads leading to the National Highway, Pathan Colony and Hirabad.
As tension gripped police fired shots from the jail premises to disperse the protesters. The traffic was later restored and extra police force was deployed outside the prison.
DPO Pir Fareed Jan Sarhandi and jail superintendent Pir Shabbir Jan remained beyond the reach of media.
The DPO is reported to have claimed that most of the crimes are being patronised from inside the jail and even the cases of kidnapping for ransom are being handled by some hardened criminals from the jail.