Pakistani prisoner Sanaullah critical after attack in Jammu jail
TNN | May 4, 2013, 12.51 AM IST
Pakistani prisoner attacked in Jammu jail
JAMMU/CHANDIGARH: A Pakistani prisoner was attacked by fellow inmates in a Jammu jail on Friday as Sarabjit Singh's relatives were readying the funeral pyre. The Jammu inmate, identified as Sanaullah, was flown to Chandigarh's PGI hospital in a critical condition with severe head injuries as authorities went on an overdrive to delink the attack from Sarabjit's death in a Lahore hospital after being bashed on the head by fellow inmates at the Kot Lakhpat jail.
Pakistan demanded that the comatose Sanaullahbe flown back to his country as his condition remained critical. However, doctors dismissed rumours that he had died. He was being treated at the intensive care unit where a battery of tests including MRI and CT scan were conducted on him. Security around the hospital was beefed up.
"CT scan showed multiple contusions with severe brain edema (brain capillaries severely damaged due to head injury) ... He is unconscious ... on a ventilator. Further treatment including neurosurgical intervention will depend on his stabilization," said a medical bulletin, issued by the hospital late Friday night after a team of neurosurgeons examined him.
The 52-year-old Pakistani from Sialkot, incarcerated in Kot Bhalwal jail since 1999, was attacked with an axe by another inmate, Vinod Kumar. Sources said the two had a heated altercation after which Vinod, a cashiered soldier, attacked Sanaullah, leaving him bloodied with multiple injuries on head. He was immediately shifted to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Jammu, where doctors described his condition as "serious" and that he was not responding to treatment, sources said.
Jail superintendent suspended
The attack on Sanaullah coincided with Sarabjit's funeral in Bhikiwind and came a day after the Union home ministry issued orders to enhance security of Pakistani prisoners in Indian jails to prevent any retaliatory violence. The Jammu and Kashmir home department promptly ordered suspension of jail superintendent Rajni Sehgal and two constables. "We are investigating the matter," said director general of prisons K Rajendra.
The attack on Sanaullah took place around 8am when the jail inmates were taken out of their cells for routine work. Sanaullah was charged with militant activities and murder and later sentenced to life imprisonment by a TADA court in 1999.
Jail sources said that Vinod had an argument with the Pakistani prisoner and, along with other inmates, attacked Sanaullah with gardening implements inflicting critical head injuries before the jail staff intervened. "A high level probe under principal secretary (home) has been ordered. The details will emerge after the report is submitted," sources said.
Sanaullah was allegedly the mastermind behind the tunnel dug by some inmates at the Kot Balwal jail. After the plan was unearthed, Pakistani nationals were kept with other inmates to prevent any such ploy in future.
Sanaullah had eight criminal cases registered against him of which he was awarded the life sentence in two cases. Trial is on in two cases while in four he has been acquitted. Vinod is serving a life sentence for killing a colleague when he was posted in Ladakh.
Sources said Vinod and Sanaullah were often seen talking to each other before Friday's tiff took an ugly turn.
The attack on a Pakistani prisoner in a Jammu jail as retaliation to the attack on Sarabjit in a Pakistani jail is unacceptable. This assault has shamed India only in the eyes of the world, but in our own eyes too. What is worse is that the attack happened despite an office alert on the possibility of such barbarous retaliation.
Pakistani prisoners in our jails - like all prisoners - must be protected, not just because India stands to lose the moral high ground on the issue, but because such attacks smack of medieval "justice" that a modern democracy can't tolerate.