Probe J-K Police officials who set up Afzal Guru: Kashmir parties

Afzal Guru hanging
With widespread public anger against the hanging of Afzal Guru across Kashmir, the demand to probe the circumstances of his arrest and allegations of a "set up" by a group of J& K Police officials is snowballing into a political issue here.

Afzal Guru's last letter

Engineer Rashid, who represents Langate constituency in J-K Legislative Assembly has demanded that the Omar Abdullah government should ''constitute a commission to probe the role of J-K Police officers in setting-up Afzal Guru''.

Referring to a letter written by Afzal to his lawyer Sushil Kumar which has been published in local press, MLA Rashid said that "the letter has come out in media. He (Afzal) has named somebody Tariq, a DSP and a police official Shanty Singh, who is perhaps in central jail even today".

Rashid had been arrested by J&K Police soon after the news of Afzal's hanging broke on Feberuary 9 and was released on Friday.

"(Chief Minister) Omar Abdullah should constitute a commission to probe it," he said and asked. "You (Omar Abdullah) said that nothing was in your hands but this is in your hands. We have to go to the bottom of this conspiracy". Afzal had written to his lawyer in 2004 while he was lodged in Ward no 6 (High Security Ward) Jail number 1 of Tihar.

In the letter, Afzal has explained as to how "DSP Davinder Singh", the then deputy superintendent of police of J-K Police's Special Operations Group at Humhama, Jammu & Kashmir, asked him to "take Mohammad", a co-accused in the Parliament attack case, "to Delhi, rent a flat for his stay and purchase a car for him". Afzal had also talked about a police official Shanty Singh who along with DSP Davinder Singh "tortured him at Humhama STF camp". Afzal had also talked about "Altaf Hussain who is brother-in- law of S.S.P Ashaq Hussain of Budgam" who first "brokered" his release between his family and DSP Davinder Singh and later took him to DSP Davinder Singh who asked him to take a man to Delhi.

While DSP Davinder Singh - who is currently in Traffic police - has not been taking calls after Afzal's hanging, Shanty Singh is in jail after Crime Branch investigation in 2003 found him involved in "torturing a civilian Mohammad Ayoub Dar of Sholipora, Pakharpore to death" in "police custody" and then "firing at his body", dubbing him as a "militant who was killed in an encounter". Sources in Crime Branch told The Indian Express that they started an inquiry under the instructions of the State Human Rights Commission and subsequently registered a case (FIR 77/2003). "Ishpal Singh alias Shanty Singh is in jail for a custodial killing,'' a source said. "During the intervening night of June, 1 and 2, 1999, Shanty Singh along with Inspector Waris Shah picked up Mohammad Ayoub Dar Son of Abdul Rehman Dar from his home at Sholipora in Pakharpora. Dar had died while Shanty Singh was interrogating him. He had then opened fire at his body and planted some arms and ammunition on his body to pass him off as a militant who was killed in an encounter at Dalwan village".

MLA Rashid's demand for a probe has got support from opposition Peoples Democratic Party and even a member parliament of the ruling National Conference. ``There is an urgent need for an enquiry. We would strongly recommend it,'' PDP spokesman Nayeem Akhtar said. NC's Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) Ghulam Nabi Ratanpuri too has joined in. "This is very much possible in the circumstances that we live in here in Kashmir. We have so many examples to quote where certain police and security force officials have taken the advantage of circumstances prevailing in J&K and abused their position for personal reasons, to extract money or to get promotions. Hundreds of enforced disappearances, unnamed graves and fake encounters are testimony to the fact that abuse of power has been rampant," MP Ratanpuri said. "It will be in the fairness of things that a commission as demanded by a legislator Engineer Rashid is constituted and the a fair and transparent probe to establish truth (about Afzal's arrest) is conducted".

The ruling National Conference, however, said that it was "pre-mature to comment" on the demand. "Chief Minister is himself monitoring the situation. It is upto the government to take a decision. As far as the party is concerned, it is too premature to say anything about it,'' NC spokesman Tanvir Sadiq said. "We have just come out of such a tumultuous situation, our first priority is that the situation should be controlled and his family should get some sort for relaxation".

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