PESHAWAR: Three policemen and three prisoners were injured on Thursday during a clash in the Peshawar Central Prison, officials said.
The injured were taken to Lady Reading Hospital, Peshawar. Clashes erupted when prison authorities were searching prisoners and barracks and police resorted to baton charge, tear gas and aerial firing. The area was cordoned off as heavy contingents of police needed to be called in to control the angry prisoners and Jail Road was closed for traffic. According to officials, the prisoners took policemen hostage during the search operation and that police had to resort to violent tactics to control the situation.
However, IG Prisons Tanvirul Haq Sipra, while talking to reporters at the jail, denied any injuries to policemen or prisoners. “Prison authorities conducted a search operation at night, which the prisoners considered an affront and attacked the staff in the morning,” he said. Sipra admitted that the prison was overcrowded but criticised the jail authorities for ‘overreacting’.
He said that those involved in the clashes will be dealt with sternly. “An FIR has been registered against 26 prisoners for disturbing order in the prison and an inquiry will also be conducted,” he said. Sipra said that a large number of militants were also detained at the central prison and they were trying to intimidate the staff. “But, search operations will continue and no one will be allowed to disrupt the situation,” he said.
Published in the Express Tribune, May 14th, 2010.