Davinder Singh told me, I had to do small job for him: Afzal Guru letter
NEW DELHI : The dramatic arrest on Saturday of a senior Jammu and Kashmir police officer who was accompanying two wanted terrorists to Delhi has revived the debate over not just illicit links between the security establishment and Kashmir militants but also the role of Afzal Guru in the 2001 terrorist attack on parliament.
The arrested officer, deputy superintendent of police Davinder Singh, was named by Afzal at the time as a key go-between in the 2001 incident but his role in the parliament case was never investigated the authorities. On January 11, he 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 in.
On December 13 in 2001, when India was blasting away English bowlers in a test match played in Ahmedabad, five terrorists attacked the highest seat of Indian democracy, Parliament, in New Delhi. Nine security personnel were killed. All five terrorists shot.
Whether arrested Jammu and Kashmir police officer Davinder Singh had any role in the 2001 parliament attack could be a part of the investigations against him, a top officer said on Wednesday. The case has been handed over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
This is not only a huge embarrassment to the security establishment in Jammu and Kashmir and in New Delhi, but also exposes the fallacy of criminal investigation by Indian agencies and quick-fix approach of the government to bring closure of a serious issue in public eye.
Investigations revealed that Singh had sheltered the terrorists at his official home next to the Army’s 15 Corps Headquarters. They set out on Saturday morning for Jammu, from where they were planning to go to Delhi. It is being investigated if Singh’s visit to Delhi was linked to the January 26 Republic Day celebration.
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 January 26 when the police say terrorist groups like to stage a high-profile attack.
On Friday, intelligence agencies picked up a conversation involving a known terrorist Naveed Mustaq alias Naveed Baba belonging to the banned outfit Hizbul Mujahideen. Naveed is a policeman-turned-militant. He was a Jammu and Police constable till 2017 the year when terror outfits began targeting Kashmiri youths who had joined security forces.
Following leads from intercepted conversation, Jammu and Kashmir police nabbed Davinder Singh and the terrorists he was allegedly ferrying. The matter was so sensitive for the security establishment that a DIG rank (Deputy Inspector General) police officer manned the check-post to intercept the vehicle Davinder Singh was travelling in.
Singh had faced allegations in the past that it was he who sent parliament attack convict Afzal Guru to Delhi and arranged logistics for the terrorists who attacked parliament on December 13, 2001.
Before his execution in 2013, Afzal Guru had claimed in a letter that the police officer had asked him to accompany a parliament attack accused to Delhi and arrange his stay there.
Asked about whether Davinder Singh’s possible role in the parliament attack was being investigated, J&K police chief Dilbagh Singh said: “Aspects can be looked into if anything comes to light. There’s no bar to any aspect being looked into. .”
Soon after Davinder Singh’s arrest, raids at his home revealed an AK rifle and two pistols. He was posted at Srinagar international airport when 15 foreign diplomats including the US envoy came for a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir last week.
Singh had been awarded the Sher-e-Kashmir Police Gallantry Medal for his role in countering the August 2017 terror attack in Pulwama in which four policemen were killed. The police are investigating if he had any role in the attack. He is being questioned by a joint team of J&K and Central intelligence agencies.
With Afzal Guru’s hanging, the Parliament attack case met its closure for the most people. But for some, that was not the logical end as the point-person named by Afzal Guru in connection with the Parliament attack case was never examined, his role never probed.
That point person was Davinder Singh, a Dy SP in Jammu and Kashmir. Afzal Guru had named him, first as the police officer who tortured him months before the Parliament attack, and then as the man who tasked him with the job of ferrying one Mohammad to Delhi days before December 13 incident. Mohammad was later identified as one of the terrorists who attacked Parliament and shot dead in retaliatory action.
Davinder Singh’s rise in the J&K Police has a little story of its own. Reports from the past suggest that after the formation of the Special Task Force in J&K, Davinder Singh volunteered to join it.
In almost all big cases of terror attacks, the blame has been put on Pakistan and terrorist organisation operating from its soil. The experts, however, have always maintained that in almost every terror attacks, there has been involvement of Indian people, whose roles generally go uninvestigated.
Davinder Singh’s role will now be probed, the Jammu and Kashmir police have said, even in connection with the Parliament attack case. Even in the case of 26/11 Mumbai attacks, Ajmal Kasab was hanged and the matter was practically closed for ever. The rhetoric of extradition of Hafiz Saeed and Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi continues. Everyone knows that Pakistan will never do this.
Any major terror attack in any country requires some local network and help. The 26/11 attack was the biggest terror incident in India. Questions were raised regarding local link but even as the case was solved and Kasab was hanged for the crime, local support network was not properly investigated.
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 & buy a car for him. Singh is now said to have been “caught with Hizbul terrorists on way to Delhi”.
(With Agency Inputs ).