Kashmir: PDP MLA’s driver detained for questioning in ‘militancy case’

A four-member SIT has reportedly launched a massive hut to hunt down Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Abu Ismail, who is believed to have masterminded the recent attack on Amarnath pilgrims.

india Updated: Jul 15, 2017 19:18 IST
Toufiq Rashid
Toufiq Rashid
Hindustan Times, Srinagar
Amarnath Yatra,Peoples Democratic Party,SIT
Security personnel keep vigil at the site of the recent militant attack on Amarnath Yatris, in which seven pilgrims were killed and 19 others injured, at Batango in Anantnag district. (PTI photo)

Investigators have detained a policeman assigned to ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) legislator Aijaz Ahmad Mir as part of their “investigation into a militancy-related case”.

While many media agencies reported that the special investigation team (SIT) set up to probe the recent attack on Amarnath pilgrims had arrested Touseef Ahmad on Saturday morning, Shopian superintendent of police Ambarkar Shriram Dinkar clarified that he was only summoned for questioning. He didn’t confirm if the interrogation was part of the ongoing probe into the terror attack.

“It is related to a militancy case,” said another top official. “But nothing is confirmed. We can’t say anything till the investigation reaches a certain stage. It would be unfair to label him as an accused yet.”

Touseef, a Chokura Pulwama resident attached to the Jammu and Kashmir police’s security wing, has been Mir’s driver for over a year now. “He is a very shy person. I have never seen him indulging in any untoward activity,” the legislator told HT.

Mir represents Wachi area in South Kashmir’s Shopian, which is one of the hotbeds of militancy. At least 25 known militants hail from the area.

A source said two other people have also been arrested in connection with the case. While nothing conclusive has emerged about Touseef until now, this is not the first instance of a security personnel’s name cropping up in a militancy-related case.

On May 22, constable Syed Naveed Mushtaq disappeared with four police rifles from central Kashmir’s Budgam district. Even as the authorities ordered a departmental probe into the incident, the Hizbul Mujahideen declared that Mushtaq has joined their ranks.

Similarly, an Army jawan – identified as Pulwama resident Zahoor Ahmad – went missing with his AK-47 service rifle and three magazines of ammunition from a camp in Baramulla district on Thursday.

The SIT formed by the police to investigate the attack on Amarnath pilgrims, which resulted in seven casualties, is headed by deputy inspector general (south Kashmir) SP Pani. It has reportedly launched a massive hut to hunt down Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Abu Ismail, who is believed to have masterminded the attack.

Police are tracking Ismail’s associates and their hideouts on the basis of communication intercepts. Though a few arrests have been made, police are yet to come out with any conclusive revelation in this regard.

First Published: Jul 15, 2017 19:17 IST