| (Left) Pakistan foreign minister Khursheed Mehmood Kasuri receives his Russian counterpart Igor Ivanov in Islamabad on Sunday. Ivanov, who was in Pakistan on a day’s visit, commended the country’s efforts to “cut and neutralise” activities of terrorist groups and voiced Russia’s desire to improve relations with Islamabad, but made it clear that it would not be at the cost of India. (AP)
Srinagar June 15: Local policemen have connived with militants to carry out political assassinations and fidayeen attacks in northern Kupwara district, police conceded today.
With many policemen having been killed in the past 13 years fighting militancy, the revelation that militants were helped by those in the force has raised eyebrows.
It has also come as an embarrassment for chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed who has been advocating an active role for local police in fighting militancy. “Sons of the soil know the terrain and the people,” has been Mufti Mohammad’s refrain.
Addressing a news conference here this afternoon, director-general of police Gopal Sharma said four policemen, including Ghulam Rasool Wani, the station house officer of Sogam station in Kupwara, were arrested following an abortive fidayeen attack earlier this month.
“The interrogation of Wani and three other cops brought to light a nexus between militants and police personnel and active involvement of cops in militant activities,” Sharma said.
“Selection grade constable Abdul Ahad Rather has emerged as the kingpin. So far, his interrogation has revealed his active involvement in the killing of former law minister Mushtaq Ahmad Lone and the fidayeen attack in Kupwara last month in which two members of the paramilitary were killed and four others wounded.”
The police chief said Rather was also involved in the abortive suicide attack on Lalpora police station last month and in transportation of weapons and militants.
“Constable Abdul Ahad Rather, posted in Sogam police station, was co-ordinating activities of various militant groups in Sogam for the past four years. He coerced SHO Ghulam Rasool Wani into submission to abet and assist militant activities since his posting as station house officer four months ago,” Sharma added.
The police chief said prior to Lone’s killing at an election rally at Lolab, top militants of the Hizb-ul Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Toiba had held a meeting.
The meeting was also attended by Rather and Mohammad Rustum Lone, a special police officer posted at Sogam.
Sharma said Nazir Kakar, a Lashkar militant, joined a group of women and fired at the minister, who died on the spot. Kakar managed to escape after the killing.
The police chief said the group later assassinated Ghulam Mohiuddin Lone, the minister’s brother, near his home at Sogam.
Sharma said Rather had given a lift to a fidayeen in his official vehicle and “facilitated him to carry out a suicide attack on the paramilitary CRPF in which two soldiers were killed and four others wounded”. The fidayeen died in the attack.
The police chief said the arrested policemen were being questioned and efforts were on to nab their accomplices.