MHA to take charge of J&K police transfers, postings
Days after a senior Jammu and Kashmir Police (JKP) officer was arrested for escorting terrorists to safety, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has decided to take charge of all transfers and postings of JKP personnel, including junior postings such as that of Station House Officers (SHO), a senior government official said on condition of anonymity.
In addition, the MHA will now directly involve itself with the “operational effectiveness of the police force” in the region and “capacity building” of JKP.
JKP Deputy Superintendent of Police Davinder Singh, posted with the critical anti-hijacking wing at the Srinagar airport, was arrested on January 11 when he was trying to escort two wanted Hizbul Mujahedeen (HM) terrorists, Naveed Babu and Rafi Rather. He has since claimed that he was working on an undercover operation to eliminate the senior leadership of HM in the valley. Initial investigations of JKP, however, have not found any evidence to this effect. The case is now being investigated by the National Investigation Agency.
MHA’s move is significant. Even after the region’s bifurcation into two union territories, J&K, and Ladakh, it chose to restrict itself to taking a call on senior positions in JKP; decisions on the transfers and postings of junior officers were left to the discretion of the local government.
Now, according to the person cited in the first instance, MHA has issued fresh orders asking that all postings of even station house officers must be made after informing the MHA. R R Bhatnagar, the recently appointed advisor to the Lieutenant Governor, has been allocated responsibility for this. The order says, Bhatnagar, who headed the Central Reserve Police Force till recently “will suggest appropriate measures for effective policing and intelligence gathering for effective policing at the police station level including the reshuffling of Station House Officers and other cutting edge levels in consultation with the Special Security Advisor, (MHA).” HT has seen a copy of the order.
Singh, who was about to be promoted, has told interrogators that he has been part of covert operations for several security agencies operating in Jammu and Kashmir for many years. “The claims are being verified,” a second senior official who did not want to be named said. “Davinder’s stint with the Special Operations Group (SoG), the operations he was associated is being examined.”