Srinagar, May 16: Jammu and Kashmir police Thursday claimed to have achieved a major breakthrough into the assassination case of late Mirwaiz Molvi Muhammad Farooq, who was killed at his Nigeen residence on May 21, 1990, by arresting two Hizb militants, who were evading arrest since over three decades.
The police said the arrested militants includes the one who had entered into the bedroom of late Mirwaiz and opened fire at him. Addressing a press conference at police control room (PCR) here, Special Director General of Police (CID), RR Swain said that on May 21, 1990, a case regarding the killing of Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq was lodged in police station Nigeen under FIR 61/1990. “Then the case was transferred to CBI. The CBI had presented charge-sheet against one accused Ayoub Dar after arresting him before the TADA court New Delhi after which the court awarded lifer to him,” he said.
The special DG CID said that investigations into the case revealed that Hizbul Mujahideen commander Abdullah Bangroo had hatched conspiracy to kill Mirwaiz. “Bangroo and his associate Rehman Shigan (both Hizb commanders) were killed in encounters while one accused was serving lifer. Two more accused— Javaid Bhat and Zahoor Ahmed Bhat, both residents of Srinagar, were arrested by the State Investigating Agency (SIA). They were evading arrest as they were hiding in Pakistan and Nepal over these years. Both have been arrested and handed over to CBI as proclaimed offenders,” the police officer said, “CBI team has arrived in Kashmir.”
He said one of the two arrested Hizb militants Zahoor Ahmed Bhat was the one who had entered into the bedroom of Mirwaiz and opened fire at him. The special DG, however, didn’t reveal where the duo was arrested. “Both the arrested will face trial now,” he said. The police announcement about the arrest of two remaining accused comes five days ahead of yet another “martyrdom” anniversary of late Mirwaiz Farooq.
Meanwhile, in a statement issued here, a police spokesman said that in a significant operation, SIA of J&K Police arrested two Hizbul-Mujahideen terrorists— Javaid Ahmad Bhat code Ajmal Khan S/o Late Habibullah Bhat R/o Solina Bala, at present Azad Basti Natipora Srinagar and Zahoor Ahmad Bhat code Bilal S/o Late Muhamad Ramzan Bhat R/o Danderkhaw, Batamaloo, Srinagar, who were absconding after murdering Mirwaiz Farooq on May 21, 1990.
“The two had gone underground and during all these years were variously hiding in Nepal and Pakistan among other places before surreptitiously returning back to Kashmir a few years ago. Maintaining a low profile, changing addresses and shifting residences, they avoided the gaze of law enforcement agencies,” the police spokesman said.
He said that accused in CBI case RC0501990S008 (pertaining to killing of Mirwaiz Farooq) they are now liable to immediately face trial in a designated TADA court in Delhi which has already completed the trial in respect of one of the five accused namely Ayub Dar code Ishfaq son of Late Abdul Ahad Dar of Rawalpora of Srinagar who has been convicted and serving a life sentence.
“Two other absconding accused terrorists found guilty in the killing of Mirwaiz, Abdullah Bangroo and Abdul Rehman Shigan, got killed in encounters with security forces in the 1990s,” the statement said, adding that “To recapitulate, on May 21 1990, Mirwaiz Farooq, the head priest of Kashmir was killed by terrorists of Hizbul Mujahideen accusing him of being a ‘peacenik’ and an ‘Indian agent’.”
The police spokesman said that case FIR No 61/1990 was registered in Police Station Nigeen, Srinagar to investigate the crime. “Thereafter the government of the day transferred the investigation to CBI on 11 June 1990,” he said, adding that “After a long and arduous legal process of investigation and prosecution, the designated TADA court, in 2009, convicted the only arrested accused Ayub Dar for life. The remaining four remained on run. While two (Abdullah Bangroo & Rehman Shigan) died in encounters, Javaid Bhat and Ayub Bhat managed to evade.”
The spokesman said that Ayub Dar, the convicted terrorist and one of the killers appealed against his conviction, which however, was upheld by the Division Bench of the Supreme Court in Criminal Appeal No.535 of 2009 on 21 July 2010.
“Before killing Mirwaiz, all the five HM terrorists had gone to Pakistan for terrorist training in 1990. Back in Srinagar, Abdullah Bangroo received instructions in April 1990 from his ISI handler in Pakistan to eliminate Mirwaiz,” the statement said.
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