Going by the track record of some of our investigating agencies, there is little clarity that the country would be any wiser after the National Investigating Agency (NIA) was given the case involving the arrest of Jammu & Kashmir Police Dy SP, Davinder Singh, in the company of Hizbul commanders, perhaps out on a terror plot — with unknown implications and design– marking the Republic Day in Delhi, at a time when the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah find themselves on a very sticky wicket due to the relentless nation-wide protests against the NRC/CAA. The NIA has clearly failed to file a charge sheet in the Pulwama terror attack that took place in February 2019 and also decisively botched up the Hindutva terror probe earlier.
The speed at which Davinder Singh’s case was handed over to the NIA should surprise many. What was the purpose of this transfer when the local police, R&AW and IB, were probing the case? The move raises several unsettling questions. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also questioned the wisdom of handing over the case to the NIA, which is headed by YK Modi, a confidante of the Narendra Modi.
Insiders claim that the arrest of Davinder Singh represents a serious botch-up in the security apparatus that looks after the Indian State. Though there’s nothing unusual about dirty cops being used in all kinds of special operations in conflict-ridden states like Jammu and Kashmir, what is significant to ascertain is who was Davinder Singh’s handlers and why he could not be protected when his car was intercepted before it could race out of the Banihal pass. Normally, when a special operations cop or a person from the intelligence agencies is unknowingly arrested by regular policemen on duty, urgent phone calls come from the right and influential places to release the undercover agent. Davinder Singh had no such luck. Why?
Davinder Singh’s arrest and his involvement in terror-related activities has caused unease amongst the envoys that travelled to Kashmir recently. US envoy Kenneth Juster, who was not accompanied by his usual aides and security detail, was also part of the entourage.
Worse, his arrest was followed by a press conference where it was announced that he would be treated like a terrorist. By revealing his identity, the J&K police not only informed Kashmir’s angry civil society about Singh’s dirty role in ensnaring Afzal Guru, it also gave credence to conspiracy theories about the dodgy nature of the Parliament attack and the many unanswered questions involving the Pulwama terror strike. By identifying Singh as a major actor in many of the terror operations, the J&K Police was also sending out a threatening message to those who recruited Davinder Singh to perform these dirty tricks. Will they be exposed or blackmailed to leave their important jobs?
Old-timers who have been following terrorism in the Valley for the past 20 years, still recall the people who put together these rogue characters eternally moving in dubious grey zones – between the legal and the criminal. As they enjoyed protection from the very top – useful as they were for building a majoritarian narrative that demonised Kashmiris – their criminal activities were largely ignored.
It’s bewildering how the DGP of J&K has promised to look into the circumstances in which Afzal Guru was used and later hanged to ease and satisfy the “collective conscience of the nation”. Will we really see another investigation in the Afzal Guru case and the Pulwama attack which led to the death of 44 CRPF jawans, with more than 70 injured? There are allegations that Davinder Singh allegedly had some role in most of the terror attacks that were blamed either on indigenous militant groups or Pakistan. Indeed, this is no more conspiracy theory. The entire legitimacy of the Indian State, the BJP-led government in Delhi, the Union home ministry, its intelligence apparatus, and its populist and holier-than-thou claims on terrorism is in serious doubt.
There are allegations that Davinder Singh allegedly had some role in most of the terror attacks that were blamed either on indigenous militant groups or Pakistan.
Davender Singh’s arrest and his involvement in terror-related activities have caused unease amongst the envoys that travelled to Kashmir recently. US envoy Kenneth Juster, who was not accompanied by his usual aides and security detail, was also part of the entourage. There is a photograph of Davinder Singh shaking hands with the US Ambassador. Surely, that must be giving him and his security personnel sleepless nights. According to news reports, Davinder Singh, who was posted at the airport in the anti-hijacking unit, had his primary duty to handle important people of security establishments like National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chief of Defense Staff Bipin Rawat.