Threats Within
 Need for scrutiny of policemen is after the arrest of constable Abdul Rashid Shingan
 Chief minister Omar Abdullah at Eid prayer in Srinagar. Farooq Abdullah is first from left

Srinagar: The mystery behind militant attacks in Srinagar ended with the arrest of a policeman. For past one-and-a-half-year, the police and other security agencies were clueless about the rising graph of militancy in the capital city.

This is the second time in past two months that policemen have been arrested for working for militants and carrying out attacks on their behalf. It was a rude shock for the security establishment in the state to discover that policemen were carrying out attacks on behalf of militants. According to inspector general of police (IGP), Kashmir range, Shiv Murari Sahai, Constable Abdul Rashid Shigan of Jammu and Kashmir Police carried out 13 attacks, including
one on the minister for law and parliamentary affairs Ali Mohammad Sagar, in the past one-and-a-half-year. Sahai says that Shigan carried out these attacks with the help of a released militant of Hizbul Mujahideen, Imtiyaz Ahmad alias Raashid. Investigations are now on to find out his modus operandi. So far he has given the impression that it was all done without any help from anyone in the police department.

The question, however, is: how can a policeman plan, execute and get away with such a large number of attacks in a city where security system is like a cobweb? Sahai reasons that it was a small module. Hence, it was very difficult to uncover and took one-and-a-half-years to discover. “Normally any militant attack that took place in Srinagar was solved in a couple of months but this module was small and working independently, and was difficult to uncover,” he added.

Abdul Rashid Shigan, a constable of the armed police and posted with the security wing at the time of his arrest, was operating under the shadow name of Omar Mukhtar/ General Usman and was always a suspect. He had a militancy background before he joined the police force in 1998. “He was an over ground worker of Harkatul Mujahideen, and was discharged from police department while undergoing training for his involvement in militant activities. He was detained under Public Safety Act for one year. Later, he was reinstated on the court orders in the police department in 2002,” informed Sahai.

It’s strange that a person who is a suspect and came from a militancy background, was not closely watched. The assumption can be that either he was off the police radar or enjoyed patronage of his seniors in the department. What is puzzling is that if he was ever under the police radar, then why was he posted at the residence of Superintendent of Police Bandipora, Bashir Ahmad Khan, as a security guard? These are just some of the questions that the police top brass have to answer.

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