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Three in custody and two more wanted J&K police found its men in league with hizb militants

Police are hunting for two of it cops who have gone underground after a nexus between policemen and militants was exposed this weekend.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Jun 17, 2012, 11.43 PM IST
SRINAGAR: Police are hunting for two of it cops who have gone underground after a nexus between policemen and militants was exposed this weekend. Already, three intelligence sleuths were arrested after their culpability in an early June attack on a former Hizb militant was established.

“A number of cases are being re-investigated,” city police chief Syed Ashiq Hussain Bukhari said. “We have established the involvement of some cops in an attack on Shabnum (a former militant) but I am not sure if the same lot was involved in other attacks in the city.” Off late, Srinagar witnessed occasional militant attacks; the recent was the killing of an NC activist in an uptown locality.

It was actually an internecine feud within the Hizb ul Mujahideen that led police to suspect the role of some of its sleuths, reportedly tasked to have contacts with the militants. Police sources revealed that a Ghulam Hassan Mir, resident of south Kashmir Tral township was a senior militant of his area operating under code name Shabnam, who had access and control over the liquid assets of the outfit.

“Once he surrendered, he allegedly refused offering any details to the assets and that angered the outfit,” a police officer associated with the investigations said. Police had arrested him in 2006 and set free a year later. Post-surrender, he shifted to Srinagar, acquired a house and opened a hosiery shop in Sadrabal near Hazratbal. “Hizb launched an attack on him apparently to punish him and it was that attack in which we suspect the role of some of the cops also belonging to the same Tral belt.”

Militants on June 7 landed at Shabnam’s shop, located outside his residence, and ought some goods. As he started getting the items, they fired at him using a pistol. A bullet pierced through his neck. A civilian Abdul Rashid who was in his hop was also injured. Shabnam survived and is still admitted to the SKIMS here.

It was a chance discovery that some of the suspects in the assault were in touch with the cops. As the investigators started probing the call records of their respective cell phones, they found the story getting murkier. After establishing their ‘neck-deep involvement’, one of them was arrested and during the interrogation he spilled the beans leading to the arrest of two others.

After confirming entire details, the police finally registered a case (FIR No 48/2012) with Shergardhi police station under sections 10, 13 and 18 of the Unlawful Prevention Activities Act and section 3 of the Police Enhanced Penalties Ordinance.

“They are under sustained interrogation and we are looking for two other cops who have gone underground,” a senior police officer said. Initially the case was being tackled by SSPs heading Srinagar city and Counter Intelligence Kashmir (CIK) but now a special cell is carrying out the investigations.

Two of them stand identified as CID cops Mohammad Abbas and Mohammad Illyas. Their third accomplice Reyaz was with CID for a long time and was recently transferred to the district police. All the three civilians allegedly involved in the case have been arrested and one of them also hails from Tral.

A newspaper report, not immediately confirmed by the officials, suggested four cops are from the state intelligence – the Special Branch Kashmir (SBK) and two are from District Police Srinagar. The newspaper claimed that the investigations have unearthed a larger brotherhood between Hizb and the cops that exist in three districts.

One theory revolving round the arrests is that they were tasked to infiltrate the militant ranks during which they witched sides. A newspaper reported that on basis of the revelations that bodyguards of some senior police officers were in touch with them, the police have changed guards of some of its senior officers and a few of them were posted out to far away Leh.

However, a middle rung police officer refused to accept the theory of a mole switching sympathies. “If they (accused) were launched to establish contacts with the militant and gathering information for the police then they should have been from CIK but the fact is that they are from SBK which does not launch its personnel for such missions,” a middle rung official from the SBK said.

With the new revelations, police have started re investigating a number of militant attacks in the Srinagar city. The most important is the May 31 attack on CRPF in which seven security men were injured. Also under scrutiny is the attack on Law Minister Ali Mohammad Sagar in which an inspector rank officer was killed. Assassination of two NC ground level leaders in Srinagar is also being looked into in wake of the new developments, sources suggest.

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