SI Sharma has won many awards, decorations for impressive performance in his 15-year career

Sub-Inspector Shiv Krishen Sharma, one of the Jammu & Kashmir police’s highest decorated personnel and counter-insurgency experts, has been taken into custody and subjected to interrogation after he was allegedly found to have been involved in several incidents of terror, including a grenade attack on Thathri police station, in Doda district of Jammu.

Superintendent of Police Doda Arif Hussain Rishi confirmed to The Hindu that SI Sharma had been taken into custody, along with his personal security officer, Head Constable Mohammad Ayub, after they emerged as suspects in a number of militancy-related incidents in the high-altitude Chenab Valley. He said that five irregular guerrillas, detained for their involvement in some disruptive and terrorist activities, had revealed the names of SI Sharma and his PSO with the disclosure that the duo had also planned and executed a grenade attack on Thathri police station on April 28.

Even as some sources claimed to have learned that the group of the seven detainees, including the two police personnel, had also planned some political killings, Mr. Rishi maintained that the police were still verifying the group’s statements and disclosures. “Whatever they divulge, everything will be subjected to verification and corroborations,” he said.

“They are all under police remand and every one of them will be interrogated with the best of our professionalism. We have rounded them up on the basis of reasonably strong evidences and each other’s disclosures.”

Abdul Rashid, Akhter Hussain, Mohammad Rafi, Altaf Hussain and Mohammad Yaqub had been arrested by the police on May 22. One AK-56 rifle with three magazines and 143 rounds, one Chinese Pistol with a magazine and five rounds, two Chinese grenades and two Motorola radio sets were reportedly among the items recovered.

Asked whether the five ‘irregular guerrillas’ had acquired their arms and ammunition from the detained SI or some other source, the Doda SP said: “They have said that they had obtained their weapons from the SI. But we are still verifying their disclosures.” It was being ascertained whether Sharma’s escapades were the result of his individual ambition for awards and promotions or he was linked to a militant outfit.

Authoritative sources said that SI Sharma had joined the district police in Doda as Special Police Officer over 15 years back. His impressive performance on the counter-insurgency front not only facilitated his regularisation as a constable but also won him high rewards and decorations including the President’s Police Medal for Gallantry, the Sher-e-Kashmir Police Medal for Bravery (twice), besides medals, rewards and commendations from the then Union Home Minister, L.K. Advani, and the Director-General of Police.

Believed to be responsible for getting about a hundred militants killed or arrested, Mr. Sharma had cultivated an exhaustive network of informants in Doda and Kishtwar districts. He had also sustained injuries and survived face-to-face encounters with the most dreaded militants in Chenab valley a number of times.