The army is questioning three Rashtriya Rifles (RR) men for their alleged involvement in the killing of their colleague, Aurangzeb. They have been detained and all the three are local residents, The Indian Express reported from Srinagar.
Aurangzeb, a resident of Poonch, was a rifleman posted with the 44-Rashtriya Rifles (RR) that is currently deployed in Shadimarg belt of Pulwama. The soldier was on his way home in anticipation of Eid in June when militants kidnapped and killed him.
The soldier was conferred the Shaurya Chakra posthumously in 2018. Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned him in his speeches during his Sunday visit to the three regions of the state. Slain soldier’s father had trekked from remote Poonch to Vijapur, where the Prime Minister spoke, to join the BJP, media reports said.
“Three personnel of the 44 Rashtriya Rifles have been detained by the Army and are being questioned for their alleged involvement in the abduction and killing of fellow soldier Aurangzeb by militants in June last year,” Indian Express reported. “Sources said it is suspected that the three RR soldiers shared information about Rifleman Aurangzeb who was abducted after he set out from the camp for his home in Poonch.”
“Sources said detained RR personnel Abid Wani, Tajamul Ahmad and Adil Wani are facing an inquiry for allegedly sharing information about Aurangzeb,” the newspaper said. It quoted sources saying: “Two are from Pulwama and one is from Kulgam (police districts). Their role came up during the investigation into the killing of Aurangzeb.”
The revelations came apparently in response to a quick visit of PDP President and former Chief Minister Ms Mehbooba Mufti to SMHS hospital where she enquired about the welfare of Tawseef Ahmad, one of the young men who was admitted to the hospital with injuries after an army officer allegedly beat him. She requested the governor and the top army officers to look into the incident in which brother of a soldier, also an orphan, was brutally beaten. She had alleged Tawseef’s brother is also missing.
Tawseef is the brother of Abid Wani, one of the accused in the case, according to the newspaper. “On Monday, 27-year-old Tawseef Ahmad, brother of Abid Wani, one of the three soldiers detained, was taken to hospital with multiple bruises after being assaulted, allegedly by RR personnel,” the newspaper said. “Ahmad was first taken to the Pulwama district hospital from where he was referred to Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital in Srinagar. Doctors said his condition was stable.” Tawseef is getting stable, according to the doctors at the SMHS.
Tawseef was summoned by the Shadimarg camp and later freed injured. The newspaper quoted one of his cousins saying: “When he came out of the camp, he was spotted by a local resident and taken to the hospital.” In District hospital Srinagar, where the doctors saw his “whole body bruised”, they referred him to SMHS hospital in Srinagar.
Aurangzeb’s killing on June 14, on the eve of Eid, dominated news and TV screens for many days.
“He and his colleagues had hailed a private car and requested the driver to drop him to Shopian but the car was intercepted by terrorists, who dragged Aurangzeb out,” Harinder Baweja reported in the Hindustan Times on July 4, 2018. “The rifleman was on his way home, in Poonch, for Eid but was to meet a local woman before leaving the Valley,” She quoted an official revealing: “He had come in contact with a woman and the two were in touch.”
“Unknown to Aurangzeb, the terrorists had found out that the army man was seeing the woman,” the newspaper said. “They forced the girl to reveal details and discovered that he would be leaving the army camp and would be seeing her before proceeding to Poonch,’’ an army official said on condition of anonymity.”
Within minutes after his kidnapping, Aurangzeb was seen in a short video in a forest answering questions on his duties, postings and operations. Hours later, his corpse was recovered in Pulwama.
The unit had violated the SOP and instead of using a bulletproof vehicle, they had used a civilian car to ferry the soldier to the bus stand. Later, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and the army chief, General Bipin Rawat, visited slain soldier’s home to pay their condolences.
The incident led to the issuance of an advisory, according to Hindustan Times. “A message has been sent to all units in the Valley, through 15 Corps, to not befriend local women,’’ the newspaper quoted an army spokesperson saying. “It is not easy for our men to serve in the midst of a hostile population, but contact with women is completely inadvisable.’’
With the arrest of the three of his colleagues, the story has taken a new turn.