A Jammu and Kashmir politician has been arrested by the NIA (National Investigation Agency) over alleged links to terrorist group Hizbul Mujahideen; he has been accused of supplying arms. The arrest was made as part of an investigation into Davinder Singh – a senior J&K police officer arrested in January while transporting top Hizbul terrorists.
Tariq Ahmad Mir, a sarpanch (village chief) from Wachi in J&K’s Shopian district, contested the 2014 Assembly polls on a BJP ticket. He even shared the stage with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during an election rally in Srinagar in December 2014.
J&K BJP has said the party has nothing to do with those involved in anti-national activities and Tariq Ahmad Mir had been expelled two years ago.
“Panchayat elections (in December 2018) were held on non-party basis. We expelled him from the party in October 2018,” Altaf Thakur, a BJP spokesperson, said, adding, “We don’t know how he managed party ticket for Assembly elections in 2014”.
Tariq Mir was produced before an NIA court in Jammu on Thursday and was sent to six-day police custody for further interrogation.
The expelled BJP leader’s name came up during interrogation of Hizbul terrorist Naveed Babu, who was one of the those arrested with Davinder Singh. Naveed Babu reportedly told investigators Tariq Mir was supplying his group with arms and ammunition.
Naveed Babu is a deserter from the J&K police force; in 2017 he fled with four rifles while guarding a post in Budgam district.
Tariq Mir, who was a resident of J&K’s Shopian district, had earlier been protected by two police officers despite intelligence agencies warning of possible terror links six months ago. Police have said his protection was removed last year.
“Intelligence agencies had warned that he was hand-in-glove with terrorists and is up to serious mischief,” a police officer said.
Allegations of terrorist links to Tariq Mir is being seen as the second major security breach following Davinder Singh’s arrest.
Officials have said the former cop’s links were much deeper than just transporting terrorists out of Kashmir. His case too had been handed over to the NIA.
Investigations into that case revealed three terrorists captured with Davinder Singh on the Srinagar-Jammu highway had stayed at his home in Srinagar’s high-security Badami Bagh Cantonment area.
A day before his arrest he had been posted at Srinagar International Airport to receive 15 foreign diplomats, including the United States envoy, when they arrived for a two-day visit in January.
After his arrest multiple raids were conducted at his home and other hideouts and large caches of arms and ammunition were recovered. Questions were also raised over why transporting of terrorists to Delhi ahead of Republic Day.
Davinder Singh was mired in controversy earlier after reports that it was he who sent Afzal Guru to Delhi and arranged logistics for Pakistani terrorists’ attack on parliament.
Prior to his execution Afzal Guru wrote a letter claiming the officer had asked him to accompany a parliament attack accused to Delhi. Police maintain they have no record linking him to the parliament attack.