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'Home assistance' for terrorists?


Fresh news coming in from Jammu-Kashmir only strengthens the doubts and anxieties usually shared by common people about state terrorism going on in the name of national security.   In a police raid led by South Kashmir DGP Atul Goyal in Mir Bazar in Kulgam district,  a man caught together with two extremists was a DySP named Davinder Singh.  He was arrested by the official team while in a car in the company of Hizbul Mujahideen Commander Naveed Babu and Lashkar-e-Tayyiba leader Altaf. 

Davinder has been working as part of the police force in Kashmir for the last quarter of a century.  Various reports indicate that they were planning to enter Delhi. There are also those who link this incident to the intelligence report that there were chances of terrorist attacks in the national capital on Republic Day.   Setting that aside,  the new turn of events ratify allegataions - which have already been raisesd several times - that the officers in police and security forces,  have a nexus with the extremist forces in the Valley.

The now arrested Davinder Singh is no inconsequential individual. He is one of those responsible for the security wing of Srinagar airport.   He is also the one who was deputed to accompany the foreign diplomats,  who had been taken to Kashmir to review the sitution in the region after the withdrawal of special status of Kashmir under Article 370.  Which is to say that Davinder Singh enjoyed that much confidence of authorities in Kashmir under presidential rule.   In addition,  he had won the President's Police Medal last year.  But Davinder Singh,  who held onerous tasks in the restive valley,  was on leave the last few days.  It was during this period that he was rounded up in a police raid.  That means he was not a confidante of the entire ruling establishment all along.  What would be the links of this man with the extremist elements in Kashmir,  so much as to ship to Delhi those like Naveed Babu who was implicated in cases including murder charges over the last three months?  Was he being a tool in the hands of these extremist outfits?  Or, as some observed,  was Davinder Singh just another regular police character of a plot set up by the government?  Answers to these have to be found through an objective and neutral probe.

As per reports released by authorities,  Davinder Singh was arrested under charges including  UAPA. Key  police officers have also made it clear that he would be tried as a 'terrorist'  like others held along with him.  So far so good.  Still questions raised above remain. For,  Davinder Singh's extremist stories are not new.   About 15 years ago,  we had heard such a narrative.  In a letter written from jail to his lawyer  by Afzal Guru,  who was executed in the parliament attack case of 2001,  there is a mention of Davinder.  It was Davinder who directed Afzal Guru to take Pak national Mohammed to Delhi,  (who was killed in the attack).   Afzal Guru also states in his letter that Davinder, who was working in the Special Operation Group in Kashmir at that time, had severely tortured him in the police camp at Humhama.  This letter came to light when the case was in pendency in the Supreme Court.  Although this had sparked some controversy,  the court was not prepared to take it as evidence.  Nor did any investigations follow on that cue.  At the same time,  activists including Arundhati Roy had asked right then that there should be a probe based on that letter.  But with the execution of Afzal Guru in 2013,  that case ended there.

What Davinder Singh's arrest underlines is that there is some truth in the affairs surrounding the parliament attack case,  which went unprobed.  Now that patent evidence is available about his connections with Kashmiri extremists,  the government is obliged to dig out thst old file. In the backdrop of Mumbai terrorist attacks, the observation made by the commissioner there,  Hasan Gafoor is also worth recalling in this context: that for a terrorist operation of this scale,  it needs unstinted connivance with parties within.   And among those who used this as a weapon to use against the Congress government of the time,  there was also the then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi.  And what have come to the fore now are some indications abut how 'domestic assistance' will be available for the terrorist attack in Mumbai and parliament attack.   Therefore,  the Centre should be prepared for a comprehensive probe into the matter.

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