New Delhi: The arrest of a decorated senior Jammu & Kashmir police officer, Davinder Singh, along with two Hizbul Mujahideen men, when they were on their way to Delhi, has kicked up a political row, with the Congress and CPI(M) raising questions over his role in the December 2001 Parliament attack as well as the terror attack in Pulwama last year.
On Monday, Congress raised questions over Singh’s role in the two attacks and asked if he was "only a pawn" in a "bigger conspiracy".
It may be noted that Singh was also mention by hanged Parliament attack convict, Afzal Guru, in a letter, alleging that he was following orders by this very same Davinder Singh.
On Saturday, Singh, a deputy superintendent of police, who was awarded with the Presdient’s medal last year, was posted at Mir Bazar in J&K’s Kulgam district. He was nabbed along with Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists ,Naveed Baba, a district commander of the banned outfit, and Altaf, besides an unidentified lawyer who was reportedly working as an overground worker for terror outfits, while on his way to Delhi. The police, as per officials cited by news agency PTI, recovered AK-47s and other arms from the car they were in.
“This police officer has worked in many anti-militancy operations but the way he was captured yesterday…. It is a heinous crime…. We have arrested him and brought him on remand,” Kashmir’s Inspector General of Police, Vijay Kumar told reporters in the Valley.
Read Also: Controversial J&K Police Cop Arrested with Top Militant Commander
"Who is Devinder Singh? What's his role in 2001 Parliament Attack? What's his role in Pulwama Attack, where he was Dy SP DR? (sic)," Congress's chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said in a tweet.
"Was he carrying Hizbul terrorists on his own or is he only a pawn, as master conspirators are elsewhere? A bigger conspiracy?," he added.
Singh, in his defence, reportedly said that he was ferrying the two wanted men as they were to surrender in Delhi.
Raising questions over the shocking arrest, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) also wanted to know who the arrested policer officer was reporting two, whose orders was he following. “Will Amit Shah (Home Minister) and Ajit Doval (National Security Adviser) answer please,” the party said in a social media poster.
Earlier, in a video post, CPI(M) politburo member, Subhashini Ali also demanded answers on the massive cache of arms claimed to have been recovered in the car in which Singh was travelling, and pointed out that it was this was police officer who Afzal Guru had cited in his letter, submitted to court by his lawyer.
Senior Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan also raised many questions on the sensational arrest, hinting at the role of some “bigger people”.
“This is huge! So the decorated police officer Davinder Singh whom Afzal Guru had accused of forcing him to help set up the terrorists who attacked Parliament in 2001, is found to be involved with several terrorists. Obviously he was protected then. Why? Were bigger people involved?”, Bhuhan said in a tweet.
According to a report in The Wire, “ 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.
“One day Altaf took me to Dravinder Singh (D.S.P). D.S. told me that I had to do a small job for him that has to took one man to delhi as I was well aware about Delhi and has to manage a rented house for him. Since I was not knowing the man but I suspected that this man is not Kashmiri as he did not speak in Kashmiri but I was helpless to do what Dravinder told me. I took him to Delhi. One day he told me that he want to purchase a car. Thus I went with him to Karol Bagh. He purchased the car. Then in Delhi he used to meet different persons and both of us he Mohammad and me used to get the different phone calls from Dravinder Singh,” says the letter.
Singh, who was in line for promotion as a superintendent of police later this month, was posted at the anti-hijacking unit at the Srinagar airport. He was among the senior police officers who recently welcomed a delegation for foreign envoys to Kashmir, who had visited the Valley on the invitation of the government of India.
‘Shocked’ at Arrest, Says Cop’s Family
Anees Zargar reports from Srinagar: Termed as a “big catch”, the arrest of Davinder Singh along with militant commander Naveed Babu has led to a series of raids being conducted by security agencies on militant network across Kashmir.
The agencies are also investigating possibilities of a bigger play in the backdrop of Singh’s relation with the militant outfit.
The police conducted its first raid in Shopian where they recovered a huge amount of food items, being used as a hideout by militants. Following, another militant Shahid Shafi was apprehended by police in South Kashmir’s Kulgam area.
Originally from Tral, Singh had joined J&K police in year 1990 and was posted in the department’s Special Operations Group (SOG), the police wing at the forefront of counter-insurgency operations in Kashmir, in 1994. Singh currently posted in the police’s security wing, however, lived in Srinagar with his family where he is also constructing a house. According to a security official, Singh had developed contacts with the militant outfit while he was posted in Pulwama between 2017-18.
"Singh had agreed to ferry the militant against an amount of Rs 10 lakh in return," the official said.
A relative of Singh told NewsClick that his family was shocked to hear about the officer’s arrest. “He left his home that day as usual,” the relative said. “He did not even visit his hometown Tral since years for security, we do not understand how he could be involved in all this,” the relative added.
Following his arrest, the police have booked Singh and his associates under sections of Indian Arms Act, the Explosive Substances Act and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
J&K police’s IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar in his press briefing on Sunday said he had no prior information of Singh’s links to Afzal Guru’s case but are likely to re-investigate his alleged role. “It’s not in my records but we will ask him about it,” Kumar said.
JK Police Clarifies on Award
On Tuesday, the Jammu and Kashmir Police said reports claiming that suspended officer Davinder Singh, who was arrested along with two Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists, was awarded a gallantry medal by the Union Home Ministry were not true.
The recipient of the medal was another officer with the same name, it said, according to PTI.
"It is to clarify that Dy SP Davinder Singh is not awarded any Gallantry or Meritorious Medal by MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs) as has been reported by some media outlets/persons. Only gallantry medal awarded to him during his service is by the erstwhile J&K State on Independence Day 2018," the Jammu and Kashmir Police said in a tweet.