Jammu Police has once again been caught napping with prime accused in weapon snatching at Tawi bridge on March 25 evening managing to reach safely to Shopian travelling all the way from Jammu to Srinagar on the National Highway while serious question marks are being raised over conflicting report of weapon’s recovery from Tawi river.
Shopian Police had yesterday stated that main accused in AK-47 rifle snatching (from a police constable) Amir Hussain son of Ghulam Mohammad Bhat R/o Ratnipora, Shopian, had surrendered before SSP Shopian Tahir Salim along with snatched AK-47 rifle and its magazine.
However, Jammu Police officers told the reporters today that AK-47 rifle was recovered from river Tawi in Jammu at the behest of Amir Hussain, who was shifted here from Shopian after his ‘arrest’ there.
Sources wondered that when entire police machinery was put on very high alert in entire Jammu region after AK-47 rifle was snatched by three miscreants from a police constable at Tawi bridge on March 25, how the prime accused managed to reach Shopian, travelling all the way along Jammu-Srinagar National Highway despite the so-called ‘red alert’ sounded by police.
“This has once again exposed chinks in the security system along Jammu-Srinagar National Highway as well as Jammu City, where the accused slipped away so easily and reached his home town Shopian at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit was only few days away,” sources said, adding that earlier also there had been several incidents like terror attacks at Nagrota, Samroli, Hiranagar, Samba etc when security apparatus was easily breached by the militants to travel on the major Highways and roads unchecked.
They were of the view that if the theory of Shopian Police is to be believed that Amir Hussain surrendered before them along with AK-47 rifle, then the matter becomes more serious as this means that he had travelled on the National Highway along with deadly weapon.
Asserting that Jammu Police have failed to learn any lessons from the previous terror attacks wherein the militants had reached Nagrota Army camp, Hiranagar police station, Army installation in Samba and travelled from Srinagar to Samroli, sources pointed out that “repeated lapses” have raised serious question marks over the security apparatus of police.
Investigations by police have also revealed that Amir Hussain along with his two associates Masrool Ahmad Naik and Shahid Najar, both residents of Shopian, had stayed in Government Kissan Ghar, Department of Horticulture at Narwal.
The staff has deliberately not made the entry of their stay at the Kissan Ghar, sources said, adding that one of the accused Ghulam Rasool Ahangar son of Ghulam Mohammad Ahangar R/o Ahangarpora, Dool, Kishtwar, who had helped the accused in their stay at Kissan Ghar on the night of March 22 and 23, has been arrested while other staff was being questioned.
The accused had reached here from Shopian on March 22 and stayed at the Kissan Ghar, which they have admitted during the questioning.
Meanwhile, IGP Jammu Zone SD Singh Jamwal told reporters that Mohammad Amir, who belongs to rich family in Shopian district of south Kashmir, surrendered before the police last night.
“We have recovered the AK-47 rifle with 30 rounds of ammunition on the disclosure of third and main accused Amir, who was arrested from Shopian district. With his arrest, four people have been arrested in the case,” Jamwal said.
Constable Mohammad Hanief, PSO of Anjuman Minhaj-e-Rasool chairman Maulana Dehlavi, was on his way to the district police lines on foot when three motorbike-borne youth intercepted him near the main Tawi bridge in Jammu on the night of March 25.
The trio then allegedly hit the constable on head with a stick, threw chilli powder in his eyes, snatched the AK-47 rifle and fled from the spot.
IG Jamwal, however, said till now there is no militancy angle to the incident but interrogation is on. “It may be an act of criminality,” he added.
“We have worked out the case after completion of the probe in which all the three youth and one, who helped the main accused to escape, have been arrested and weapon along with ammunition recovered,” IG Jamwal said.
The police officer said the weapon was hidden in river Tawi area under a pillar near the bridge before Amir managed to escape to Shopian, where he surrendered under pressure and was arrested before being brought to Jammu.
The Chief of Police in Jammu region said Amir had changed his getup and had a hair cut to give police the slip to reach Shopian. A case is under probe whether anyone else has facilitated his escape to Shopian, he said.
On March 25, police received the information of the incident around 10 PM and rushed to spot where they found PSO Hanief in injured conditions. He was shifted to the Government Medical College (GMC) hospital, the IG said.
Subsequently, the police arrested one suspected Masrool Ahmed of Shopian from the spot with the help of a passerby, he said.
On interrogation, it was found that three persons were involved in the incident, he said, adding an alert was sounded and check point activated and photographs circulated timely.
The next morning another accused Shahid Najar of Shopian was arrested at Ban Toll Plaza during a police checking, Jamwal said. Soon Ghulam Rasool Ahangar of Kishtwar, who helped the accused to escape, was also held, he said.
Amir, who belongs to a rich family, was arrested in Shopian. On his disclosure, the AK-47 rifle along with 30 rounds has been recovered, the IG said.
Meanwhile, police has issued fresh advisories to its force in this region on the incidents of weapon snatching by militants and anti-national elements.
“We have sent fresh advisories to our police force that such incidents should not take place. The guidelines have been issued with regard to the measures to be taken by the cops to prevent weapon snatching by militants and anti-national elements,” Jamwal said.
Asserting that such incidents are a matter of concern, Jamwal said he has got assurances from his personnel that they will not be repeated.
To a question as why the youths from Kashmir chose Jammu to snatch the weapon from the police officer on March 25, the first such incident in the city, the IGP said, “They thought the security alert is not as high here as in the Kashmir valley.”