Wives have stated they had applied under J&K’s rehabilitation policy: team

The investigation team from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday questioned family members, friends and acquaintances of the detained former militant Liaquat Shah of Kupwara over his activities and return to India through Nepal last month.

Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Anurag Tankha and Superintendent of Police Anoop Kuruvila, who is an IPS officer of the Kerala cadre, interacted with over a dozen persons at the Gazetted Officers’ Mess of Jammu and Kashmir Police at Humhama, near Srinagar Airport, and later at Joint Interrogation Centre, the Counter-Intelligence wing of the J&K Police at Gupkar Road. Two deputy SPs and other officials helped them interrogate Mr. Shah’s family members and other contacts.

The NIA team recorded the statement of over a dozen persons, including two of three wives of the detained former militant who was arrested by SSB sleuths and sent to the custody of the Delhi office at the Sanauli border-post near Gorakhpur, on March 20. Sources privy to the interrogation revealed to The Hindu that both Liaquat Shah’s resident Kashmiri wife Amina Begum of Dardpora Lolab as well as his third wife, Akhtar Nissa of Dardpora Kralpora, told the NIA team that their husband had applied for his return and rehabilitation under the State government’s surrender-cum-rehabilitation policy of November 2010 through Amina Begum and that he was returning to surrender before the Kupwara Police when he was arrested by Delhi Police.

Statements of three more family members and relatives of Liaquat Shah were also recorded. The NIA officials put questions and cross-questions to them, recorded their statements and probing corroborations. Sources said the team had a long list of the men and women to be questioned at detention centres, jails, hotels and residences here in the next three days. The team would be visiting Kupwara on Saturday.

In the wake of a confrontation between the Delhi Police and the J&K Police and on the resultant request of J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde had assigned the investigation to the NIA. Delhi Police has booked Liaquat for planning fidayeen attacks around the festival of Holi at the national capital and also claimed to have seized arms and ammunition, including an AK rifle, allegedly kept for him by a contact at a hotel near Jamia Masjid in New Delhi. On the other hand, the J&K police have claimed that Liaquat was returning from Pakistan through Nepal, along with his wife and step-daughter, and his application seeking permission to surrender had been accepted by the authorities.