Decorated Rebel Fighter Held With Militant Duo, Arms Recovered  

SRINAGAR: In a surprising development, the Jammu and Kashmir Police have arrested a decorated police officer along with two militants.

The arrest took place in Mir Bazaar belt of south Kashmir Kulgam district. Identified as Devinder Singh, the DySP rank officer was the No 2 at the Srinagar airport. He was part of the host delegation that received the group of 15 diplomats who flew to Srinagar early this week.

He is supposed to take care of the anti-hijacking and overall security of the Srinagar airport. Reports appearing in media suggest that the police intercepted the officer’s vehicle and arrested two Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) militants and recovered five grenades from it.

“Two AK-47 rifles were recovered in a subsequent raid at the officer’s residence,” IANS quoted a source saying. It was not immediately known where he was driving the top militant and his associate. Singh quickly jumped the ladder after joining the anti-militancy Special Operations Group (SOG).

Almost 24 hours after, IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar confirmed the arrest of DySp along with two militants in south Kashmir.

IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar addressing a press conference in Srinagar on Sunday January 12. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

“Yesterday SP Shopian got information that two militants have left from Shopian in a vehicle and were going towards Jammu National Highway. Singh said the SP then informed him and he directed the DIG south Kashmir to lay a checkpoint on the highway,” he said while addressing a press conference in Srinagar.

“He established a Naka and after searching the vehicle, he found two wanted militants. Along with the militants, he also found a deputy superintendent of police. Another person was there who is an advocate and in our list, he is an over the ground worker of militants,” Kumar said.

Asked about whether Singh’s involvement with security and receiving of foreign envoys was not a security breach, Kumar said that they had no idea of his involvement in militancy.

“That time he was on a legal bonafide duty and we did not know about his involvement. How could we stop him from duty at that time?,” he said.

Kumar said that the police searches are still underway at many places and also some hideouts have also been busted.

“A militant hideout was also busted in Shopian which was some 8 feet underground equipped with food and living facilities,” he said.

“This operation is a chain operation and we are getting many leads and launching subsequent operations. We can’t reveal more at this time,” added Singh.

IGP Vijay Kumar said the arrested officer will be interrogated by all security agencies and will be treated like the other arrested militants. “Interrogation is underway,” he said.

He said that a case under FIR NO: 5/2020 and under section 7/25 Indian arms act, section 18,19,20,38, 29 unlawful activities act has been registered in this regard.

Earlier, he was in news during the Parliament attack case when the key accused in the case, Afzal Guru named him in letters to his lawyers. Guru was convicted and hanged. Police moved Singh out of counter militancy operations and parked him in the Traffic Police and the Police Control Room before posting him at the Srinagar airport. In between his services were placed under suspension.

Police identified the two militants as Syed Naveed Mushtaq alias (Naveed Babu) and Rafi Ahmad Rather and Ifan Shafi, an advocate all residents of Shopian. They are being held responsible for mounting series of attacks on the security grid, mostly in south Kashmir. Naveed is a resident of Nazneenpora in Pulwama who is a police deserter.

A police source said they have searched his Srinagar residence, close to the headquarters of the 15 Corps.


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