J&K cop arrested with 2 militants

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 1/13/2020 2:04:38 PM

SRINAGAR, Jan 12: A senior police officer, posted with the strategic anti-hijacking team at Srinagar airport, was arrested along with two militants whom he was ferrying in a car in Kashmir Valley, a top police officer said in Srinagar on Sunday.
Kashmir Inspector General of Police (IGP) Vijay Kumar said it was a 'heinous crime' and Davinder Singh was being treated at par with the militants and jointly interrogated by all security agencies.
While refusing to divulge details of the probe so far, Kumar said that after the news about their detention on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway in South Kashmir on Saturday spread, some militants escaped from a hideout in Shopian.
One of the arrested militants Naveed, who was a police constable and deserted the force in 2017 to join the Hizbul Mujahideen, has been involved in cases of killing of police personnel and civilians, the IGP told a press conference in Srinagar today.
"The police officer (Singh) has worked on several anti-militancy operations. But the circumstances under which he was arrested yesterday when he was driving the car with militants towards Jammu is a heinous crime. That is why he is being treated at par with the militants," the IGP said.
"He has been properly arrested, has been brought under remand and his interrogation is on. The investigation is at an initial stage and I cannot share anything further.
"The investigation is on and we have got several leads which we will not like to share as the operation is on. When this news spread yesterday, some militants escaped from a hideout in Shopian. The hideout was eight feet under the ground which had food items among other things stored there," he said.
Giving details of Saturday's operation, Kumar said the Shopian Superintendent of Police had got a specific intelligence input that two terrorists were travelling in a vehicle on the national highway towards Jammu.
"The SP Shopian informed me and I directed DIG south Kashmir and a naka was laid. The car was searched and two wanted militants were there. A deputy superintendent of police was also there along with a resident who is an advocate and a listed OGW (overground worker) in our records," he said.
The IGP said the militants and the police officer were interrogated by the police and then all agencies, including intelligence agencies IB and RAW, working in the valley.
"I called all the security forces and agencies for a joint interrogation which is still going on. One of the militants has been identified as a top commander Naveed Babu, who was a police constable in 2017 and had decamped with four rifles from Budgam.
"He has been involved in police and civilian killings and threatening orchardists. 17 FIRs have been registered against him. He is the district commander of Shopian and 2IC of HM commander Riyaz Naikoo,” Kumar said.
When a reporter mentioned that Davinder had confessed during an interview that he had asked Afzal Guru to ferry a man named Mohammad to New Delhi, Kumar said the police would look into it.
Davinder had a robust record in anti-militancy operations and had been honoured with the gallantry award in 2017. Currently, he was posted as DSP, Anti-hijacking, at the sensitive Srinagar International Airport. Recently, Singh was seen in government-released pictures, receiving foreign diplomats on Thursday.
The arrest assumes importance as the officer, according to sources, was ferrying the militants out of the Valley to Delhi. Deputy Inspector General of South Kashmir Atul Goyal was supervising the operation which led to their arrest.
Naveed Babu, a special police officer (SPO), who had deserted the police force in 2017, was among the two Hizbul Mujahedeen commanders. Back then, the police had said that Babu decamped with four weapons. The former SPO shot to the limelight after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government scrapped Jammu and Kashmir's autonomy and statehood in August 2019.
Police had accused Babu of killing non-Kashmiri civilians and setting ablaze an apple-laden truck in Shopian district of south Kashmir in October. He had been threatening apple growers not to send their produce to Indian markets.
The police were miffed with such actions and had put up posters with Babu’s pictures in different areas of Shopian, requesting the people to share information about him.
In 2013, political parties in the Valley had demanded a probe into the circumstances leading to Guru’s arrest. Engineer Rashid, the then Langate MLA, had demanded the government ''constitute a commission to probe the role of J-K Police officers in setting-up Afzal Guru''.
Referring to a letter written by Afzal to his lawyer Sushil Kumar, which was published in the local press, the parties had demanded a probe into these allegations.
Afzal had written to his lawyer in 2004 when he was lodged in Ward no 6 (High-Security Ward) Jail number 1 of Tihar. In the letter, Afzal had explained how "DSP Davinder Singh", the then deputy superintendent of police, J&K Police's Special Operations Group at Humhama, Jammu & Kashmir, asked him to "take Mohammad", a co-accused in the Parliament attack case, "to Delhi, rent a flat for his stay and purchase a car for him".

 

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