SRINAGAR: Clashes broke out between prisoners and authorities of Srinagar central jail late on Thursday over rumours that inmates were being shifted to a jail outside Kashmir Valley. Prisoners went on a rampage and destroyed at least three barracks and a building inside the premises.

To carry out renovation of barracks, jail authorities were moving some inmates to a temporary shelter within the premises. Suspecting that they were being relocated to a jail outside the valley, inmates vandalised the jail, setting alight the temporary shelter and breaking CCTV cameras. They even tried to breach the jail’s outer cordon, police said.

J&K Director General of Police and Prisons Dilbagh Singh confirmed that the inmates burnt a structure within the facility. “Some inmates instigated others to stop the repair and reinforcement works inside a barrack. Others (jail inmates) joined and resorted to violence and set a structure on fire,” he said.

CRPF personnel roped in to contain the ruckus had to fire tear gas shells and pellets, which injured two inmates. The fire was brought under control even as prisoners continued protesting throughout the night, Srinagar deputy commissioner Shahid Iqbal Choudhary — who is monitoring the probe into the clash — said on Friday.

Following the violence, district authorities imposed restrictions in parts of Srinagar’s Old City area and reduced internet speed across Srinagar, Anantnag and Kulgam districts. Additional companies of CRPF have been summoned to control the situation and barricades have been set up to monitor the movement of people.

Following the escape of Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Naveed Jatt from the SMHS hospital in February 2018, prisoners belonging to the high-risk category were shifted from Srinagar central jail to various prisons in Jammu region, including Udhampur, Kotbalwal and Hiranagar. In March last year, the National Investigation Agency had raided the jail and recovered more than two dozen cellphones, a Pakistani flag, jihadi literature and other incriminating evidence.