Security tightened at Hyderabad prison to foil Bhatkal’s escape

Hyderabad, July 4 (IANS) Authorities have beefed up security at Cherlapally prison here following reports that Indian Mujahideen founder Yasin Bhatkal might try to escape.

The security was stepped up in the wake of reports that Bhatkal told his wife over phone that he would be out soon with help from Damascus. The telephonic conversation, reportedly intercepted intelligence agencies, triggered fears that he may get help from Islamic State (IS).

The jail officials, however, said National Investigation Agency (NIA) or other agencies have not shared any information with them.

They also confirmed that Bhatkal called his wife and mother 27 times and all his calls were recorded and analysed.

Bhatkal, an accused in many terror attacks including Dilsukhnagar bomb blast on Hyderabad, is lodged in Cherlapally Jail since November 2014.

Deputy Inspector General (Prisons) Narasimha Reddy said Bhatkal was provided facility to speak to his family members on the direction of a court in February this year, and can exercise it twice a week for a duration of five minutes.

“He speaks in Urdu and Arabic. We have recorded all his conversations as per the rules and we will give the audio tapes to the security agencies,” he told reporters.

Bhatkal’s wife Zahida and mother Rehana live in Delhi.

The officer denied that the jail authorities had provided mobile phone facility to him. “This is baseless. There is no truth in it,” he said. Also dismissing reports that Bhatkal made calls to Pakistan, he clarified that international calls can’t be made from the jail phone.

The officer said all prisoners are allowed to speak to their family members over landline phone.

The DIG also clarified that only Bhatkal’s lawyer, wife and mother met him during “mulaqat” (visiting time) in jail and dismissed reports that anti-social elements met him in prison.

The jail has 13 inmates facing terror charges.

Yasin Bhatkal, one of India’s most wanted men, was arrested by the NIA near the border with Nepal in August 2013.

He was wanted for the 2011 Delhi High Court blasts and several other strikes in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune and Hyderabad.

Hailing from Karnataka, 32-year-old Bhatkal is said to be well-educated. Born Ahmed Siddibappa, he co-founded the Indian Mujahideen in 2008 with Riyaz Bhatkal and Abdul Subhan Qureshi. He was named in almost every terror attack in the country since 2007.

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