Crime and Policing

The Police team that cracked the murder.

The volatile political conditions of Kashmir have earned the state police not so pleasant an image, but efficient counterinsurgency and surveillance methods evolved over the years help them produce quick results in solving other crime cases, like murder and theft. BILAL HANDOO  reports.

In the recent past, public-police relationship received a jolt due to the prevailing state of affairs in the Kashmir valley. Whether it is police crackdown on Facebook protestors or their controversial means for curbing street protests, public image of the police is not a pleasant one. But amidst this revulsion, this limb of law enforcement is kicking out the crime elements on daily basis without hitting the headlines without any ‘appreciation’ by the general masses. One such crime mystery solved by cops was a recent murder at Batmaloo.

On June 09, 2012, a team of four police personnel solved the ‘Blind Murder Case’ of Wali Mohammad Hajam alias Imtiyaz, a mason from Handwara who was putting up in Batamloo area of Srinagar. They recovered his body from a plot of land in Batmaloo. The team headed by SDPO Shaheed Gunj Imtiaz Ismail had in it IPS probationer and SP Batmaloo Rayees Mohammad Bhat, ASI Mohammad Isaac and constable Showket Sultan.

According to the police investigations, this cold blooded murder happened to be a crime of passion. The main accused Muneer Ahmad War was harbouring a grudge and jealousy against the victim on account of his proximity with a girl to whom the accused was strongly attracted to and purportedly had a relationship with her.

In fact, the accused used to question the girl about the frequent visits of the victim to her home. The girl used to tackle these questions in a very smart manner without letting the accused know about her past relationship with the victim. The relation between the victim and the girl had strained due to some issue and the same was used by the accused to propose to the girl, which she readily accepted.

Meanwhile, the victim never stopped his visits to girl’s house, which further infuriated the accused, and he hatched a plot to settle the victim’s account once and for all, the police claimed.

The team of police officials acted upon the missing report of Imtiyaz which was filed by his cousin on May 15 this year in Police Station Batmaloo. “Soon after the missing report, we questioned twenty five people associated with the deceased and finally zeroed in two persons,” said the SDPO Shaheed Gunj, Imtiaz Ismail who received the communiqu? from the SP Batmaloo, Rayees Bhat.

These two persons happened to be the accused himself and Izhar-ul-Islam, a resident of Anantnag. The second accused, a local chemist only proved to be the facilitator to dump the dead body. The two used to be in contact frequently and their late night calls traced by police put them under high suspicion and finally they were nabbed.

On the fateful day, the victim had visited the house of the accused since both were well acquainted with each other as they lived in the same locality and had a verbal duel about their relationships with the girl. “The victim was frequently visiting the house of the girl, to which the accused strongly objected to for obvious reasons as he wanted to have a relation with the same girl,” added Imtiaz Ismail.

The head of the investigation team elaborated that the accused wanted to get rid of the victim and for that he had procured a sharp knife about a month back from a local blacksmith from Rainawari, Srinagar and was waiting for an opportunity.

He had hidden the knife in one of the corners of the house and took the victim there on the day of murder by engaging him in an argument. “He came behind the victim pulled out the knife and gave a couple of blows on his head with this sharp weapon and caused his instantaneous death,” he added. Soon after murder, panicked Muneer called Izhar to the spot and threatened him of fatal consequences in case he divulged the murder to anyone.

After that the duo put the dead body in a tin barrel lying in an under construction house adjacent to the scene of crime and waited for the right occasion to dump the body. The dead body remained in the barrel for the whole day of May 14 and later on was disposed off in Lane No 5 of Firdosabad area of Batmaloo in the dark hours.

Killer Muneer Ahmad War and his aide Photo: Bilal

On sustained questioning, accused Muneer, a local mosque cleric identified the site where he dumped the dead body and also the modus operandi of the murder. Subsequently, a sharp edged 16-inch knife, the weapon of offence was also recovered from the site.

Interestingly, the accused was engaged with the local girl, whose family even constructed a house for him.

SDPO Imtiaz Ismail said that ‘rational policing’ used by the team cracked this murder case in less than a month. “We approached the case in a very rational manner without using any sort of interrogations. A mere questionnaire used helped us to reach at the conclusion of the case,” he said.

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