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Regular-article-logo Friday, 19 July 2024

Shiver over can of worms

Arrest of J&K cop resurrects several doubts

Muzaffar Raina And Our Delhi Bureau Srinagar Published 15.01.20, 09:27 PM
Davinder Singh

Davinder Singh (PTI)

A tweet attributed to actress and celebrity interviewer Simi Garewal said on Wednesday: “Bring terrorists to Delhi. Bomb blast on Rep Day. Hundreds die. Muslims blamed… and targeted. Was that the scenario?????”

Another Twitter user admonished Garewal: “Just amazing and gratifying that you would choose to be a liberal knowing that your family came to India as refugees if I am not mistaken.”

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Garewal replied: “My family & forefathers for 3 generations were Army officers. They served our nation & were decorated for outstanding bravery…. So get your facts right!”

The “scenario” imagined by Garewal would normally have been dismissed as just another conspiracy theory.

But not after the arrest of deputy superintendent of police Davinder Singh in Jammu and Kashmir on the charge of attempting to ferry militants to Delhi in the run-up to Republic Day.

Since then, the controversy has escalated with doubts being cast on the government’s story on the Parliament attack of 2001. Many in the Kashmir security establishment fear that if an impartial probe is carried out, it will lift the veil off the dark secrets of the murky counter-insurgency world in Kashmir, including those shrouding the 2001 Parliament attack.

A former Jammu and Kashmir director-general of police, Kuldeep Khoda, has now called for a probe into the claim made by Afzal Guru, who was hanged in the Parliament attack case, that Davinder had forced him to take to Delhi one of the five militants involved and arrange his stay there ahead of the terror strike on the House.

Khoda told The Telegraph that “prima facie it indicates that we should go into it (investigations). We should not presume it is correct or incorrect but go about it with an open mind and arrive at the right conclusion. I am sure that the investigating authority, the NIA, will go deep into it and find out what is the truth about it.”

Davinder, a top counter-insurgency hand, was arrested on Saturday while trying to take two militants and an alleged over-ground militant worker to Delhi. Investigations revealed that the DSP, who has now been suspended, had sheltered the three at his Srinagar residence before hitting the national highway the following morning.

Many in Kashmir believe that Afzal was framed in the Parliament attack case. Afzal had written to his lawyer that Davinder had directed him to take Pakistani militant Mohammad from the Valley to Delhi and arrange his stay in the capital.

Mohammad was one the five militants who later carried out the Parliament attack. The CBI did not probe Afzal’s claim and he was later hanged in 2013.

Police sources said several officers feared that Davinder could expose many senior colleagues if he started to sing.

Director-general of police Dilbagh Singh said there would be no bar on the investigators from probing Afzal’s claim. “If it is linked to that, those aspects will be looked into,” he told reporters in Jammu.

The DGP, asked whether some senior officers could be linked to Davinder, said if there was any nexus the officers would not be spared. He said the police had already suspended Davinder and recommended his sacking.

It, however, appears that the police had initially hesitated to act against Davinder. It took the police more than 24 hours to even acknowledge his arrest.

“Davinder told the police officers who arrested him that they were foiling his operation (suggesting he was part of some covert operation) but the officers present paid ignored it and detained him. But yes, there are some officers who would not like any progress in this case,” an officer said.

Singh’s predecessor Khoda, who was the J&K police’s intelligence chief in 2001 when the Parliament attack took place and later rose to become the director-general of police, on Tuesday said that since Davinder’s arrest had confirmed his militant links, Afzal’s claim needed to be probed afresh.

“Now it appears that what Afzal Guru had said through his lawyer is probably correct and his (Davinder’s) role needs to be thoroughly probed,” Khoda told a television channel.

The former police chief said the lawyer for Afzal had mentioned that his client had told him that this officer (Davinder) was involved in ferrying one Mohammad to Delhi.

“That was not gone deep into. I do not know why. The CBI was investigating the case at that time,” Khoda said.

“At the same time, I presume it was done by the lawyer towards the late stage of the trial and probably it was thought that a convict like Afzal Guru, who was in the last stages of the trial, can’t be relied upon much as he was implicating an officer who was involved in anti-terrorist operations.”

“Now that the link has been found and it has been established he had links with terrorist groups, obviously this will be gone into, this is not a choice,” Khoda added.

Khoda said there was also a need to go into the antecedents of Mohammad.

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