Kathua, Mar 07: There were attempts by the local police to destroy evidence in the probe relating to the rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl in Kathua, investigations by the Jammu and Kashmir crime branch have revealed, reports claimed.
A report published by media outlet NDTV said that in a letter written to Director General of Police SP Vaid, the crime branch that took over the probe says Asifa’s clothes that were soaked in blood and mud were washed by the Kathua police before they were sent to a forensic laboratory.
The crime scene was never preserved by the police, the letter written by the crime branch’s additional director general says, adding that no search was carried out in the village even after Asifa’s family filed a missing complaint.
“Action will be taken and it will become part of investigations. Anybody found wanting in his professional job shall be proceeded against departmentally and legally,” NDTVquoted Vaid saying.
Two special police officers from the Hiranagar police station, where initial investigations took place, have already been arrested for their alleged involvement in the case, NDTVreported
Asifa was kidnapped from Rasana village on January 10. According to investigations, she was drugged and held captive for a week before being murdered.
Last week two senior BJP ministers Chandra Prakash Gupta and Lal Singh attended a rally organised by the Hindu Ekta Manch, the group that has been spearheading the protest over the arrests. Mr Ganga termed the crime branch probe as “jungle raj” and directed the police not to make any more arrests.
Addressing a crowd, NDTV quoted Singh saying “What if a girl has died? Many girls have died here”. He also asked people to defy orders that prohibit a gathering of more than four persons.
Police sources say the crime was meant to drive out Muslim nomads from the Hindu-dominated village. They claim that call details and mobile tower data place the accused on the location of the crime, adding that there is evidence that drugs used to sedate Asifa were bought by one of the accused special police officers from a medical shop in Kathua days before the girl was kidnapped.
Adding to the theory of a planned crime, investigators claim links between some protesters and the murder.
Sanji Ram, a retired revenue officer, has been a key driver of the Hindu Ekta Manch protests. Officials say he is the custodian of the premises where Asifa was held captive.
The NDTV report further said that Ram rejects the allegations, claiming that he is being hounded by the crime branch as he has opposed plans by the nomads to build a mosque in the village. Asifa’s family say there was no such plan.
Villagers barred Asifa’s father from burying his daughter’s body in the land he owned. The little girl was finally laid to rest in a forest several kilometres away, reported NDTV.
Hizb commander among 3 militants killed in Tral
Militant recruitments have dropped considerably, says DGP
Srinagar, Feb 19: Security forces Wednesday killed three top militants including a Hizbul Mujahedeen commander in a fierce encounter at Sherabad area of Tral in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
The slain militants have been identified as Jahangir Rafiq Wani and Raja Maqbool residents of Tral, and Saddat Ahmad Thokar, a resident of Bijbhera.
Director General of Police Dilbag Singh said the slain militants were involved in civilian killings and damaging public property in south Kashmir.
“We have been continuing our anti-militancy operations. Today we killed three Hizbul Mujahedeen militants in Sherabad. The slain militants included Jahangir Rafiq Wani who replaced the erstwhile HM commander Hammad Khan. Huge cache of arms and ammunition has been recovered from the site of encounter,” he said.
Singh said Jahangir along with Raja Maqbool were involved in the killing of two civilians, Mehraj ud din Zargar and Ghulam Nabi Mir, at Tral. After abrogation of Article 370, he set chemist’s shop and a truck on fire. “He was a dreaded militant who terrorized people and even set a mosque at Ameerabad on fire,” Singh added.
With the killing of these two militants, DGP said 23 militants have been killed so far in 10 “successful” anti-militancy operations in Jammu and Kashmir.
“In two encounters at Jammu, four militants were killed. In Kashmir, 19 militants have been killed so far. During these operations, no collateral damage took place,” he said.
The DGP said several militant modules were busted in 2020 and 40 Over Ground Workers (OGW) of militants were arrested.
“Youth joining militant ranks have dropped considerably, which is actually a good trend. Eight youth, who ran away from home to join militancy, have been reunited with their families. Right now, shops and traffic are functioning normally” he said.
On Umar Fayaz, who was injured during militant attack at Lawaypora, police chief said he has not been given a clean chit as yet.
“His condition is bad and he has been sent home for treatment. When he gets well, he will be taken into custody and interrogated,” he said.
Singh backed government’s decision to defer elections for vacant Panchayat seats in Jammu and Kashmir. “Right now operations are happening. The government’s decision must be based on solid grounds,” he said.
DGP said the launching pads of militants in Pakistan Administered Kashmir “remained full” with militants during winter season, who he said were looking for opportunity to sneak in towards India’s territory.
He these launching pads were active now and “desperately” waiting for opportunity.
“We don’t know the exact number of militants in these launching pads. These launching pads would getting empty earlier during snowfall but this winter the militants have not been withdrawn. Their activities are going on and waiting for opportunity to cross LoC,” he said.
Singh said the ceasefire violations this year so far have increased by Pakistan to push militants across the border.
He said some of their attempts of infiltration by militants have been successful.
“However, the forces there are giving befitting reply to the ceasefire violation and are also making their attempts unsuccessful. The militants who were killed in Jammu region had also infiltrated recently, which is being investigated. Pakistan wants to keep water warm on LoC,” he said.
DGP further informed that a drone from Pakistan crossed border in Kathua and returned after the BSF opened fire.”
Tough measures against misuse of social media:DGP
Srinagar, Feb 19: The Jammu and Kashmir Police said Wednesday that they will act against the misuse of social media networks, which were allegedly being used to stoke violence in the valley.
“We have evidence whereby social media was used through VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) to tell militants to carry out attacks at certain places. On priority, we are targetting such misuse of social media,” DGP Dilbagh Singh told reporters here.
Singh said the Jammu and Kashmir administration had issued an order January 14 banning the use of social media but the police was only going after those who were misusing it.
“We are sharing information (through WhatsApp) with you which means we know that you are using it. We are keeping a vigil on the use of social media and will act against those who misuse it,” Singh said.
The DGP was responding to a question about the police spokesperson using WhatsApp to share press releases and send invitations for events including his press conference Wednesday in spite of the ban on the use of social media.
“There have been several instances of misuse. For example, the driver of the truck which was carrying militants at Nagrota sent a photograph to his handlers in Pakistan the moment his vehicle was intercepted at the naka,” Singh pointed out.
“We have to differentiate between use and misuse… when someone misuses the social media, there will be no room for leniency. You should be thankful that you are able to use it,” added the senior police official.
Inspector General of Police Kashmir Zone, Vijay Kumar dismissed reports in some sections of media that 200 persons have been booked for using VPN.
“We have registered a general FIR. The report that 200 persons have been booked is absolutely wrong,” Kumar said.
LG calls for increasing surveillance along IB
Jammu, Feb 19: Lieutenant Governor Girish Chandra Murmu on Wednesday asked the BSF to intensify vigil along the International Border (IB) to ensure safety and security of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
This was conveyed by Murmu to L Mohanti, Inspector General of Border Security Force (headquarters Delhi), who called on the Lt Governor here at the Raj Bhavan, a statement issued said.
Murmu and Mohanti discussed wide-ranging issues related to the BSF’s operations and the current security situation in the union territory, it said. The Lt Governor lauded the role being played by the BSF in safeguarding the frontiers and advised heightened surveillance for ensuring safety and security of people.
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