Jail provides skill development, education to stone-throwers

Entrance of special jail correctional home in main town of Pulwama district. —Excelsior/Younis Khaliq
Entrance of special jail correctional home in main town of Pulwama district. —Excelsior/Younis Khaliq

Adil Lateef

Srinagar, Oct 3: For the first time, State Government is providing education and skill development training to limited number of detainees who have been booked under ‘less heinous’ stone-throwing related offences in an exclusive jail named as ‘correctional centre’ at South Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
Currently, at least 25 youths, most of them school and college dropouts, have been detained at ‘special jail correctional home’ in volatile Pulwama district. According to officials, this is for the first time that a separate jail for detainees booked in stone-pelting cases has been set up in Jammu and Kashmir. “We have detainees from various districts including Baramulla, Kupwara and Srinagar,” said Pulwama Jail Superintendent, Riyaz Ahmad.
He said that the detainees lodged at new jail were brought from various prisons in order to segregate them from militants and criminals. “We have picked up those detainees who are involved in less heinous offences and are ready to pursue their career,” the Pulwama Jail Superintendent said, adding that the Government is seriously thinking to peel off their offences if they mend their ways. “It depends upon their behavior and conduct. This is an experiment and we will see how things evolve in three months,” he said.
All the detainees at ‘correctional centre’ are grown up adults and not juveniles, said the officials. Referring to the facilities, the Jail Superintendent said that at present three teachers from Education Department are attached with the jail for imparting education in different subjects to the inmates. “The subjects include Education, Islamiyat and Economics. The teachers come to guide the inmates as per their requirement everyday. They are attached with us”, he added.
The Jail officials said that besides education and skill development training, the Government is also providing sports facilities to the stone-throwers. The officials said that the exclusive jail has an intake capacity of 100 inmates and they are expecting more detainees to be brought there from other prisons of the Valley.
A senior police official said that due to presence of under trial or convicted militants, the stone-pelters — particularly young ones – come under their influence and end up as radicals and sometimes militants as well. “We have seen in many cases how detained stone-pelters ended up as militants. We have been working to keep them away from radical elements who brainwash them inside jails,” he said, adding: “we are trying to assimilate those boys into mainstream who are not involved in heinous offences and we are working on that at various levels.