Arrests have remained a routine in Kashmir for the last twenty years. It barely makes news. Last year started with the arrest of Master Ahsan Dar (many believe he was actually detained in 2008, a secret that police kept for almost three months) and ended with the slapping of Public Safety Act on a middle aged woman from a south Kashmir village who, despite having 50 cases against her continued smuggling narcotics to Srinagar. Even minors were detained under PSA.
But the biggest arrest took place far away from Srinagar. It was that of Manohar Singh, the highly decorated senior superintendent of police, who during his Srinagar posting was law unto himself. As one of the top counter-insurgency specialists, he would hunt his “kill” everywhere and ensure that there is nothing on record. His seniors and subordinates admit in private that almost everywhere from Doda to Kathua it was a shady deal that led to his shifting to other place and finally he become SSP Jammu, a vital position. He was being considered to be city police chief for Srinagar at the peak of Shopian spill over. And then there was a racket!
Behind bars since September 28, 2009, Singh is yet to get bail from any court in the Amandeep murder case. Initially, police acted professionally and arrested the killers and recovered the weapon used in the crime. The real drama started later as the killer is the son of influential and moneyed Naggar family who spent money like water and with the help of the top cops managed to change the weapon used in the murder. Investigation into this aspect of the policing led to the arrest of Singh, who was found involved in replacing the weapon. Post-arrest, the investigation into Singh’s involvement led his colleagues to some of his assets that he had created after joining the super-cops league.
Secrets of Singh’s rise from an alleged land-grabber in Jammu to the much valued police officer at the peak of turmoil are buried in and around Srinagar. Since registering an FIR was a heady task in the Singh Raj there are countless stories being told and retold. One is about a Chadoora boy who died within two days after being kicked by Singh in his abdomen. At the most, only a leading tailor on Residency Road can tell a story in murmurs who was beaten black and blue by Singh, then SP Task Force, after he discovered the crease of his pants were not in order.