Decorated J&K police officer caught travelling with terrorists
14 January 2020
In a dramatic move, the Jammu and Kashmir police on Saturday arrested a senior police officer in Jammu and Kashmir who was accompanying two wanted terrorists to Delhi, which raised doubts about his intentions and role.
Deputy Superintendent of Police Davinder Singh was caught travelling with two militants on the Srinagar-Jammu highway, en route to Delhi. The police recovered AK-47s and other arms from the car they were travelling.
The arrest of the police officer has revived the debate over the role of Afzal Guru in the 2001 terrorist attack on Parliament and also the illicit links between the security establishment and Kashmir militants.
Afzal had then named Davinder Singh as a key go-between in the 2001 incident, but his role in the Parliament case was never investigated.
Singh was awarded the President’s medal for bravery only last year.
Addressing a press conference on Sunday, inspector general of police for J&K Vijay Kumar said although Singh “has worked on several anti-militancy operations, the circumstances under which he was arrested yesterday when he was driving the car with militants towards Jammu is a heinous crime. That is why he is being treated at par with the militants.”
Singh has been booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, according to some reports. TV18 reported that the IGP denied having any knowledge of Singh’s connection to Afzal. “There are no such records. However, the police will look into the matter.”
Afzal Guru had in an affidavit named J&K police officer Davinder Singh as setting him up to take a Parliament attack accused "Mohammad" to Delhi, rent a flat and buy a car for him. Singh is now said to have been "caught with Hizbul terrorists on way to Delhi".
The two militants caught with Davinder Singh, who is posted as DSP at Srinagar airport, are Naveed Babu, said to be top commander of the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba and Altaf of the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen.
Naveed was wanted for his role in the killing of labourers from Bihar and West Bengal in October last year, in the wake of abrogation of J&K’s Article 370 status.
It is not clear why Singh was taking Naveed and Altaf to Delhi, especially since Delhi is usually placed on high alert in the run up to Republic Day on 26 January when the police say terrorist groups like to stage a high-profile attack.
Davinder Singh’s name came into national prominence when Afzal Guru’s lawyer, Sushil Kumar, released a letter Guru wrote in his own hand which provided details of the role Davinder – referred to as ‘Dravinder Singh’ in the letter – played in introducing Guru to one of the men who later attacked parliament.
Afzal Guru had alleged in his defence that Singh tortured him and threatened to kill his family unless he carried out his directions. Guru alleged in a written affidavit and through statements carried in the local media that Singh had forced him to carry the Parliament attack terrorists to Delhi, hire a flat there and also buy a second-hand white ambassador car for the use of the terrorists. It was this white ambassador car that the terrorists used during the Parliament attack in 2001.
According to a PTI report, deputy inspector general of South Kashmir Atul Goyal apprehended Davinder Singh’s car at a police barricade when he was supervising the operation at Mir Bazar in Kulgam of South Kashmir on 11 January.
The DIG, according to the eyewitness, lost his cool at the DSP. Two AK rifles were seized from the car. A search was conducted at his residence and the police allegedly seized two pistols and one AK rifle, the officials said.
IGP Vijay Kumar, however, said there was no record of involvement of the the arrested police officer in the Parliament attack case as was being reported in a section of the media. "We have no such records and I have no information, but we will ask him about this," he said.
On assigning security duty to Davinder Singh during the recent visit of envoys to J&K, Kumar said the police had no information about the officer's involvement till Saturday. "He was on duty and how could we have stopped him from that as we had no information about his involvement in anything," he said.
Kumar also refused to divulge details of the probe, adding that after news spread about their detention, some militants escaped from a hideout in Shopian.