J&K govt moves SC for transfer of 7 Pakistani terrorists out of Jammu jail

A bench of Justices L N Rao and M R Shah sought a response from Centre and the Delhi government on the plea and issue notice.

J&K govt moves SC for transfer of 7 Pakistani terrorists out of Jammu jail

New Delhi: A plea by the Jammu and Kashmir government in the Supreme Court on Friday sought transfer of seven Pakistani terrorists from Jammu jail to Tihar in the national capital, alleging they were 'indoctrinating' local prisoners.

The seven terrorists are: Waqas Manzoor alias Qazir, Mohd Abdullah alias Abu Tallah and Zaffar Iqbal of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT); Zubair Talha Zarror alias Talha (LeT) from Multan in Pakistan and arrested in 2013; Mohd Ali Hussain (LeT) arrested in 2014; Hafeez Ahmed Baloch of terrorist group Al-Badr arrested in 2006 and Zia Mustafa accused of killing of 24 Kashmiri pandits at Nadimarg area of Shopian district in South Kashmir in 2003.

A bench of Justices L N Rao and M R Shah sought a response from Centre and the Delhi government on the plea and issue notice.

The bench tagged the pleas along with the earlier petition filed by the state government for shifting of one Pakistani terrorist Zahid Farooq, who was affiliated to LeT, and said it will hear all the petitions together.

The state's standing counsel Shoeb Alam said terrorists belonging to various organisations need to be shifted out of Jammu jail as they were involved in the indoctrination of local prisoners and pose a security threat to the people and security personnel.

The bench asked Alam as how many terrorists needs to be moved out to which he replied that pleas for shifting of seven Pakistani terrorists is listed today. 

If not Tihar, they can also be shifted to other high-security prisons in Haryana and Punjab, he said.

To this, the bench said it will hear the matter and asked Alam to ensure that a copy of the notice is served to the seven terrorists also. A day after the Pulwama attack on February 14 in which 40 CRPF personnel were martyred, the Jammu and Kashmir government had moved the apex court to shift Farooq, out of Jammu jail.

Farooq was arrested by security forces while trying to cross the border security fence on May 19, 2016. The state government had said intelligence inputs received indicated that militants belonging to terror outfits like Jaish-e-Muhammad and LeT are indoctrinating the minds of other inmates lodged in the prison.

It was reliably learnt that the prisoner and other individuals have considerable local support and it cannot be ruled out that they may be receiving information, resources as well as other help to carry out terrorist related activities, the state government added.

The state also sought shifting of the trial to Delhi saying it apprehends that transporting the militant to court and back to prison poses a threat to escorting policemen and common public.

Alam had earlier cited an example of an attack on a police party last year when two policemen were killed and a Pakistani terrorist under-trial prisoner managed to flee from the custody during a hospital visit.

Shifting of Pakistani terrorists from their current prison in Jammu to a high security prison outside the state is in the interest of national security, the government had said.

"Foreign prisoners like the private respondent are radicalising and brainwashing local Kashmiri youth in prison. There is a concentration of prisoners with similar backgrounds and linkages to terrorist organizations in local prisons in the State of J&K," it said.

The effect of such radicalisation is that the brainwashed local youth who are inmates with these prisoners, are spreading the menace of terrorism and creating sympathisers by influencing, mobilizing against the state, it said. 

The state government plea said, "It is also suspected that the Pakistani Government, does not generally pay heed to the request for deportation when the prisoners are lodged in prisons in the state of J&K. However, once the convicted prisoners are shifted to jails outside the state of J&K, the Pakistani government has also shown interest in the deportation of these prisoners back to Pakistan".