With the arrest of Pradeep Singh, a contractual sanitary inspector at the Sub District Hospital of Tangmarg since 2006, police investigators of the March 13 fidayeen attack on a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) camp have learned that both the alleged collaborators of the dare-devil operation were closely linked to the armed forces in the past.
According to sources associated with the investigation, Mr. Singh, a resident of Kanispora (Baramulla), lived at an official accommodation allotted to him unusually in a year of his engagement on contractual basis. His wife and a son too stayed with him occasionally.
Within a year, Mr. Singh developed intimate relations with the officers of the CRPF based at Tangmarg. Although he is said to have maintained that he just “enjoyed drinking” with his acquaintances at the camp, the Special Operations Group of the Srinagar Police is likely to question some of the paramilitary officials.
Mr. Singh’s purported disclosures indicate that the fidayeen duo, escorted by one-time militant Bashir Ahmad Mir, drove all the way from Baramulla to Tangmarg, via Baba Rishi, in the morning on March 13. Mr. Singh treated them to tea at his government accommodation before a vehicle was arranged that finally carried them to their destination at Bemina on the National Highway Bypass.
Block Medical Officer of Tangmarg Asif Khan was on Saturday “informally” grilled by the local police, trying to learn how the government accommodation could have been allotted to a junior official yet to be regularised in the service. “I told them that the government accommodation had been allotted to him years before I joined here 15 months ago,” Dr. Khan told The Hindu. He maintained that neither he nor any other official of the Health Department had any inkling of Mr. Singh’s alleged connections to the militants.
Mr. Mir too was known for his connections to the armed forces operating in the Baramulla-Uri belt of northern Kashmir. It was reportedly because of these links that he was let off at least four times in the last 20 years after he was allegedly found involved in criminal activity. Reports awaiting confirmation say he was also held for circulating counterfeit currency and detained in Jammu.
Three years after crossing the LoC, getting guerrilla training at a camp and operating as a militant of the Aljihad outfit, Mr. Mir is known to have surrendered before the Army in his residential area of Uri.
Even after helping security forces in counterinsurgency operations for some years when the former Army chief, General J.J. Singh, functioned as a Commanding Officer in that area, Mr. Mir developed contact with two militant outfits. He was later arrested and a weapon was recovered from him.
Again after his release, he is said to have gone back to the militant ranks, as a guide and managing the cross-LoC launching operations.