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Meet the unsung heroes who cracked the Kathua rape and murder case

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, Jun 10: Behind the Kathua rape and murder verdict lies the painstaking investigation of the eight-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) which resisted pressure, battled character assassination and braved non-cooperation to bring the heart-wrenching case to its logical conclusion.

Crime Branch team included ADGP (retd) Aloke Puri, IGP Syed Ahfadul Mujtaba, former SSP Ramesh Kumar Jalla, SP Naveed Pirzada and DySP Shwetambri. Irfan Wani, KK Gupta and Tariq Ahmad were the other members of the team.

The team worked professionally using scientific investigation to crack the case in a record time despite pressure from the politicians and pro-accused Hindu Ekta Manch.

 

Former minister Choudhary Lal Singh held massive rallies in support of the accused. This led to the precarious law and order situation in parts of Jammu. Coupled with the political interference, the SIT faced uphill task to complete the investigation in the stipulated time.

Undeterred by the pressure tactics, the SIT filed a charge sheet against eight people including Sanjhi Ram, a retired revenue official and the alleged mastermind of the crime, his son Vishal Jangotra and his nephew who is a juvenile.

Other accused include Parvesh Kumar alias Mannu, Special Police Officers (SPOs) Deepak Kumar Khajuria alias Deepu and Surinder Kumar, Sub Inspector of Hiranangar police station Anand Dutta and head Constable Tilak Raj.

“We produced the evidences which court appreciated. It was on that basis that the accused have been convicted. I am satisfied but not happy,” said Ramesh Jalla, former SSP crime, who has now retired from the service.
IGP Crime Syed Ahfadul Mujtaba said the protection of the witnesses was a challenging task for the SIT.

“It was both advantage and disadvantage for investigation agency because prosecution witnesses had to be taken to the court which was far from here. We presented 114 prosecution witnesses in the court,” he said in an interview to a local news channel.

Mujtaba however was not satisfied over the acquittal of one of the accused. “We haven’t received the copy of the judgment as yet. We will examine it and if needed we will go for an appeal against the acquittal,” he said.

Mujtaba said the SIT had produced evidences, which proved that the acquitted Vishal Jangotra was involved in the rape and murder of eight year old tribal girl.

“We will go into the details and see under what circumstances the judgment was given and what could be the reasons for arriving at such a conclusion,” he said.


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Militant, Army officer killed in Anantnag gunfight

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Srinagar, Jun 17: An Army officer and a militant were killed and three other soldiers including a Major injured in a gunfight in south Kashmir Anantnag district on Monday, police said.

Police sources said the officer was shot at during the firing exchange between the holed-up militants and security forces in Bidoora village in Achabal area of the district.

The slain militant was believed to be a foreigner.

 

SSP Anantnag, Altaf Khan said that the operation was launched following specific inputs about the presence of some militants in the area.

He said that as the joint team intensified the searches, the militants, hiding in the area, opened fire which was retaliated, triggering off a gunfight.

Initially, sources said, the joint team of forces and militants exchanged gunfire for some time during which the house, in which the militants were hiding, was damaged. Later there was a lull for about an hour even as Army rushed more reinforcements and the joint team started searches to find out the militants.

Soon the militants rose from the debris and opened indiscriminate fire on the forces, resulting in the on-spot death of Major Keetan Sharma and injuries to three others including another Army Major Rahul Verma, sources said.

They added the joint team of forces retailed the fire, leading to the fresh gunfight in an open field. While one militant was killed and the search operation is underway to find if there is any more militant hiding in the area.

The identity and group affiliation of the slain militant is being ascertained, sources said.

Meanwhile, youth took to streets and pelted stones at the security forces. The police and paramilitary CRPF deployed in the area used tear smoke shells and pellets to disperse them.

In wake of the operation, the authorities snapped internet service in the southern district.

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IED blast in Pulwama, 6 soldiers, 2 civilians injured

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Srinagar, Jun 17: Militants on Monday attempted to blow off an Army vehicle in a village in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

A police official said that an armoured vehicle of Army came under an IED attack in Hargam Arihal village of Pulwama. He added that after the blast militants also fired some gunshots towards the vehicle.

Local residents informed that they heard huge blast followed by gunshots.

 

Reports said that six soldiers and two civilians were injured in the blast. The soldiers were shifted to Army’s 92 base hospital at Badamibagh, Srinagar for treatment.

The area was soon cordoned off, officials said.

Earlier, reports said that militants exploded an IED under a Casper vehicle, extensively damaging it, as an army convoy passed through Arihal. However, the army clarified that the damaged vehicle was not a Casper, but an Ashok Leyland Stallion truck.

Three of them who were travelling in the cabin of the vehicle are stated to be serious, the news agency reported.

The blast was triggered by militants using a car laden with explosives, GNS reported attributing the same to “initial investigations by police.”

“A police officer that the explosives were fitted inside a car and investigators are probing the owner of the vehicle. Asked, which type of vehicle was used, the officer said that it is a matter of investigation,” the news agency reported.

“Samples have been collected and further probe is underway,” the officer was quoted saying.

In a statement, the Army called the attack a “failed attempt” by militants. The troops are safe, barring a few minor injuries, it said, adding, “The area has been cordoned and search operations are in progress”.

The blast comes days after Pakistan had reportedly shared information with India and America regarding the possibility of major militant attack in the south Kashmir district. (With inputs from GNS)

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Emotional scenes at slain SHO’s wreath-laying ceremony

Syed Nashir Ali Gillani

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SSP Srinagar, Dr Haseeb Mughal holding in his lap the son of slain SHO Arshid Khan during the wreath laying ceremony at DPL, Srinagar on Monday – Photo: Umar Ganie

Srinagar, Jun 17: Emotional scenes were Monday witnessed at District Police Lines (DPL) Srinagar as top cops and bureaucrats attended the wreath-laying ceremony of the slain police officer Arshad Khan, who had sustained critical injuries in a militant attack in Anantnag last week and later succumbed to his injuries at AIIMS, Delhi on Sunday.

J&K Police chief Dilbagh Singh, Advisors to Governor K Vijay Kumar and KK Sharma, Home Secretary Shaleen Kabra, Divisional Commissioner Baseer Ahmed Khan, ADGP Muneer Khan, and SSP Srinagar Dr Haseeb Mughal, among other civil and police officers were present on the occasion.

J&K Police shared two heart wrenching photos of Dr Mughal carrying the deceased’s son in his arms during the wreath-laying ceremony.

 

In the photos, a teary-eyed Haseeb is seen carrying slain Arshad Khan’s son while paying tributes to his colleague.

On the occasion, Advisor Kumar said that more than 1600 J&K Police personnel have lost their lives in the line of duty.

On June 12, around 4:50 pm, five paramilitary troopers and a militant were killed and four other security forces personnel including Arshad sustained injuries after militants attacked a joint party of CRPF and police at bus stand Anantnag.

Arshad was immediately evacuated to a nearby hospital and then to Srinagar’ SK Institute of Medical Sciences, Soura. After being treated there for a few days, he was flown to Delhi’s AIIMS hospital where he succumbed to his injuries on Sunday.

According to police, Arshad was inducted into police services in the year 2002 and was presently posted as SHO Anantnag. Khan is survived by father and mother, wife Neelofar, 5-year-old son Abuhan Khan, Danim 2, and a brother.

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