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J&K: Police Raids Homes of Ex-Bar Association President in Connection with Advocate’s Killing

Anees Zargar |
Residences of 3 other lawyers raided in a case related to advocate Babar Qadri’s murder, who was shot dead from close range in 2020 by suspected militants.
Residences of 3 other lawyers raided in a case related to advocate Babar Qadri’s murder, who was shot dead from close range in 2020 by suspected militants.

Representational Image. Image Courtesy: NDTV

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) police on Wednesday said they carried out raids at four locations in Srinagar city, including the residence of former High Court Bar Association (HCBA) president Mian Abdul Qayoom in connection to the killing of advocate Babar Qadri.

A spokesperson of the police said that Srinagar police conducted simultaneous searches at four locations, two located in the Barzulla area, one in Brein, Nishat and one in Maisuma in houses and offices of three lawyers.

Among those were the residences of lawyers Mian Abdul Qayoom, Muzaffar Ahmad and Manzoor Ahmed Dar that the police said were searched as part of the investigation of the Babar’s killing. Mian Qayoom, who was among the lawyers arrested ahead of the abrogation of Article 370 and 35 A in August 2019, has served as President of the Bar Association for nearly 20 years.

“All procedures as per the due process of law were followed in the searches so conducted in presence of Executive Magistrates. Deputy Superintendent level officers personally supervised and led these searches at all locations,” the police said in a statement.

The police officials however seized digital devices, bank statements, property sale agreements and what they referred to as “suspicious books” during the raid.

Qadri, who regularly appeared on news channel debates, was shot at from a close range by suspected militants on September 24, 2020, at his residence in the Hawal area of Srinagar city following which a case under First Information Report (FIR) number 62/2020 was registered in police station Lal Bazar under sections of 302 Indian Penal Code (IPC), 7/27 Arms Act, and 16,18,20,39 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

The advocate was a known critic of the government as well as Hurriyat leadership and had often opposed Mian Qayoom as part of his activism. His killing sent a shockwave across the region with many terming it as a chilling sign of the deteriorating situation in the region. Mian Qayoom, who was arrested several times in 2010, 2016 and in 2019, has survived an assassination bid by unidentified gunmen in 1995.

The police have since charge-sheeted five accused in the case who are facing trial.

“The searches were conducted during further investigation in the case wherein certain new evidence came up that has the potential to unravel the conspiracy part in this killing,” the police said.

Qadri’s family hailed from rural North Kashmir but had migrated to Srinagar after facing ‘persecution’ from government-backed militia – Ikhwan ul Muslimeen – for alleged ties with now banned Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI). 

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