South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

NEW DELHI: The arrest of Davinder Singh, a top Indian cop, along with two alleged Kashmiri fighters in a car on Saturday has brought back questions about his alleged role in the 2001 parliament attack case and other big cases in Jammu and Kashmir, the Indian Express said on Monday.

Singh, a deputy superintendent of police, is a decorated counter-insurgency officer who is currently posted with the security and anti-hijacking unit of Kashmir police at Srinagar airport. In a letter to his lawyer Sushil Kumar in 2004, Afzal Guru, then lodged in Tihar jail for his alleged role in the attack on parliament, had said “DSP Davinder Singh”, then posted with J&K police’s special operations group at Humhama, had asked him to “take Mohammad”, an alleged Pakistan national identified as one of those who carried out the parliament attack, “to Delhi, rent a flat for his stay and purchase a car for him”.

Afzal had also named another police officer, Shanty Singh, who, along with Davinder Singh, reportedly tortured him at Humhama camp.

He had also mentioned “Altaf Hussain, who is brother-in-law of SSP Ashaq Hussain (Bukhari) of Budgam”, who first “brokered” his release with Davinder Singh, and later took him to Singh. Afzal Guru was convicted and hanged on Feb 9, 2013.

Davinder Singh’s alleged role in the Parliament attack case was not probed, the Express said.

Asked about this on Sunday, IGP (Kashmir) Vijay Kumar said: “There is nothing as such in our records nor do I know anything about it… We will question him on this.”

The newspaper quoted a police officer as saying: “His (Davinder Singh’s) deeds are finally catching up with him. This time, I don’t think anybody can save him.

“There will be many questions asked. Where was he taking these two wanted militants? They were leaving the Valley as they were nabbed on the way to Jammu. What plan did they have,’’ said the officer. “Almost every operation where he (Davinder Singh) or his associates were involved has become suspect.”

The officer said Singh was posted across Kashmir on counter-insurgency duty. “He was DySP DR in Pulwama too,’’ the officer said. “He can open a can of worms once he starts talking”.

The reference was to the car bomb attack in Pulwama that brought India and Pakistan close to a full-scale war and became a factor in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s re-election with a large majority.

Meanwhile, according to the Indian Express, while Shanty Singh’s alleged role in the Afzal Guru case could not be ascertained, he was jailed in 2003 after an investigation by police’s crime branch found him involved in “torturing a civilian, Mohammad Ayoub Dar of Sholipora, Pakharpore, to death” in “police custody” and then “firing at his body”, dubbing him as a “militant who was killed in an encounter”. The crime branch investigation had been initiated after instructions from the State Human Rights Commission. The police wing had registered a case to probe whether Shanty Singh had any role in the custodial killing. According to police records, “during the intervening night between June 1 and 2, 1999, Ishpal Singh alias Shanty Singh, along with Inspector Waris Shah, picked up Mohammad Ayoub Dar, son of Abdul Rehman Dar, from his home at Sholipora in Pakharpora.

Dar had died while Shanty Singh was interrogating him. He had then opened fire at his body and planted some arms and ammunition on it to pass him off as a militant killed in an encounter at Dalwan village”.

Published in Dawn, January 14th, 2020