SPO, TA jawan arrested for fake encounter in Poonch

SPO, TA jawan arrested for fake encounter in Poonch

8 August 2011
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: In a first incident of its kind, a Special Police Officer (SPO) and a Territorial Army (TA) jawan gunned down an innocent and insane civilian at Hari forests in Surankote on the intervening night of August 6 and 7 and dubbed him a Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) district commander Abu Usmaan of Gujranawalla, Pakistan to get promotion and cash rewards. Police arrested both of them today and charged them with murder case under Section 302 RPC. Body of the civilian, who was believed to be a resident of Gujjar Mandi, Rajouri, has been preserved for identification. Poonch Police have constituted a Special Investigating Team (SIT) for investigations of the case while Deputy Commissioner, Poonch have ordered a magisterial probe. Army has also ordered an independent inquiry into the incident and handed over the TA jawan to police to face murder charges. General Officer Commanding (GOC) Romeo Force Maj Gen G S Shergill said in Rajouri that the Army has handed over the TA jawan to police promptly for initiating action against him in the killing while SSP Poonch Ashkoor Wani announced the arrest of both the accused in a press conference at Poonch. The accused have been identified as Abdul Majeed son of Mohammad Bashir, a resident of Dara Sangla, Surankote, posted with 156 Territorial Army (TA) and Noor Hussain son of Said Mohammad R-o Marhot, Surankote, a SPO posted in Surankote. A FIR No. 135-2011 has been registered against both of them under Section 302 RPC for further investigations. While police arrested the SPO this morning, the custody of TA jawan was handed over by Army to police in the afternoon. Investigations carried out by police and security agencies so far revealed that the SPO and the TA jawan hatched a criminal conspiracy to kill an innocent civilian and dub him as a militant. While the SPO was of the view that he would get promotion as constable 'by killing a top militant’’, the TA jawan was confident of cash rewards. Both of them met in Surankote on August 1 when they finalized the plot. The TA jawan, who had earlier been posted at Palma in Rajouri district, told the SPO that he knew an insane youth, who moved in Gujjar Mandi, Rajouri during the day. They decided to go to Rajouri and lure the boy to Surankote and kill him. Giving a final touch to their plan, they purchased a weapon and some rounds from a civilian of Marhot, named as Baba to show them as recoveries from the ‘militant’. Police said Baba, whose full particulars are being ascertained, was absconding from his house. They left Surankote on August 4 morning and reached Rajouri in the evening. They stayed at a hotel for the night and left for Gujjar Mandi at 5 am on August 5 in search of the youth. They found him after about two hours. The TA jawan, who knew the youth, lured him by offering him food and other items. They took the 26 year old youth, whose identity was not even known to them, to Surankote the same day. On reaching Surankote on August 5 evening from Rajouri in a Tempo Traveller, the accused kept the insane boy in the dhok of Abdul Haq son of Mohammad Feroz R-o Hari describing him as his relative. They told Haq that the youth had come to meet them. On August 6 morning, they shifted the youth to Hari forests after giving him food and asked him to keep sitting there till they return. The TA jawan and the SPO then raised a false alarm that they had observed movement of three militants in the area. By the evening, they told the Army and police that they would go to the forests and take on the militants as, being locals, they were aware of topography of the area. As enforcement of Army and police remained at standby, the SPO and the TA jawan went ahead and killed the insane youth with their weapons. They told other jawans and cops to keep on firing during the night to maintain cordon in the area on the ground that only one ‘militant’ has been killed while another was injured and the third has fled away. Sources said after killing the youth, the accused also defaced him to ensure that he was not identified. The killer kept the pistol and rounds, which they had purchased from Baba, along side the body of the youth to make him a militant. In the morning, body of the youth was recovered from the spot and he was presumed as a militant as the accused had also kept a diary in his pocket naming him as Abu Usmaan, ‘district commander’. His address had also been mentioned as Gujranwalla, Pakistan. However, the luck ran out for the killers when the Moulvi, to whom body of the ‘militant’ was handed over for burial in Surankote, refused to do so on the ground that body was not of a Muslim as it hadn’t been circumcised. Police and Army were stunned by the Moulvi’s revelation. Police ordered seizure of the body immediately. Later, the pistol shown to have been recovered from the possession of ‘militant’ was examined and it turned out to be a rusted weapon. Immediate investigations revealed that the TA jawan and the SPO had carried out the whole operation and killed an innocent insane youth for getting promotion and rewards. SSP Poonch Ashkoor Wani said the SPO was immediately arrested while the custody of TA jawan was taken in the evening. Both of them have confessed their crime and narrated the entire conspiracy, which they hatched for getting promotion and reward. Identity of the insane youth hasn’t been established so far. Mr Wani quoting fresh medical examination of the youth by the doctors in Surankote said he had been circumcised very slightly. 'It could be either way’’, he said, adding photographs of the youth have been sent to Rajouri for identification of the youth. Even the killers were not aware of identity and community of the youth, Mr Wani said. He added that all police stations have been alerted about the lodging of missing report in any police station of Rajouri. Body of the youth has been preserved for identification. The SSP Poonch said the Call Detailed Record (CDR) of mobile telephones of the killers has confirmed their movement from the tower locations from Surankote to Rajouri and back on the days they brought the youth to Hari. He said there was enough evidence to prosecute them. While the person in whose dhok the boy had been kept for a night has been detained for questioning, Baba, who had arranged pistol and rounds, for the SPO and the TA jawan, was at large. Mr Wani added that a Special Investigating Team (SIT) headed by Additional SP Poonch Yougal Manhas has been constituted for investigations into the murder case. Deputy Commissioner, Poonch, A K Sahu has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident, which would be conducted by the ACR Poonch. Addressing a press conference in Rajouri this afternoon, GOC Romeo Force Maj Gen G S Shergill said Army or police were not involved in the killing and it was the conspiracy hatched only by the SPO and the TA jawan. He said the Army acted very quickly after the fake encounter came to its notice and handed over custody of the TA jawan to police to face murder charges. Maj Gen Shergill said Army was fully co-operating with police in investigations of the case. He assured that anyone found guilty in the case wouldn’t be spared. He announced that Army has ordered an independent inquiry into the case. Replying to a question, the GOC Romeo Force said there was no Hindu militant in Surankote area. To another question, he said, source reports are always cross-checked. Maj Gen Shergill said both the accused were living together for past sometime and planned the conspiracy. He added that the militants had planted a diary near the body to show identity of the militant as Abu Usmaan. Col Media NP Arora said in Jammu that immediately after coming to know about the anomaly, Army conducted an inquiry and handed over the individual (the TA jawan) to police to face the charges. 'We are fully cooperating with police in the inquiry’’, he added. This is for the first time that a fake encounter has been reported in Jammu region. Earlier, four porters of village Lalyal in Mangu Chak area of Raipur Satwari had gone missing in 2005 and their bodies were found in Lolab, Kupwara. They were taken from Gole Market, Gandhi Nagar on the pretext of their recruitment as porters. A surrender ceremony by the militants had also come under clout.


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