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3 arrested J&K cops involved
in minister's killing: police

June 15, 2003 18:58 IST

The Jammu and Kashmir police on Sunday said three of the seven policemen arrested for allegedly helping militants, were involved in the killing of former home minister Mushtaq Ahmad Lone during an election rally in September 2002.

Four militants had met the three policemen four days prior to Lone's killing to chalk out a plan to commit the assassination, Director General of Police Gopal Sharma told reporters in Srinagar.

During the meeting, wireless sets were distributed and codes provided for carrying out the murder.

A Lashkar-e-Tayiba militant, Nazir Ahmad Kaker, carried out the crime with logistics support from the others, including the policemen, Sharma said.

The DGP identified the policemen as Ghulam Mohammad Peer alias Gulla Peer, Mohammad Rustum Lone and Abdul Ahad.

Others present were Hilal Dar (Hizbul Mujahideen), Manzoor Ahmad and Qari Asif (both of the Jaish-e-Mohammad).

The policemen were reportedly entrusted with the task of providing information about the movement of the minister.

The police was able to crack the case following the arrest of two cops of the Sogam police station for their involvement in the suicide attack on the Lalpora police station.

Station House Officer Ghulam Rasool Wani and clerk Abdul Ahad confessed to the crime during interrogation and on their information, five more policemen were later arrested.

Sharma said the policemen were lured into abetting the militants through coercion and monetary considerations.

During interrogation, the arrested policemen revealed the modus operandi adopted for Lone's killing on September 1, 2002.

The militants roped in some personnel of the police station in Sogam, Lone's ancestral village, to provide vital information about the security structure and movements of the minister, Sharma told reporters.

The militants even used the policemen to carry their weapons and facilitate their movement in high security areas.

During the meeting to plan Lone's killing, wireless sets were distributed along with codes.

Peer, using his proximity to Lone's family, got information about the minister's schedule and passed it on to other members.

A Special Police Officer, Rustum Lone, located at Sogam, alerted the militants when the minister left the town on the day of the killing.

Another accomplice, Ghulam Mohammad Peer, located at Gundmacher informed constable Abdul Ahad, via wireless, when Lone passed the Bismillah Colony bridge.

At that time, Ahad was located at Tekipora, the venue of the fateful election rally, Sharma said.

Lashkar-e-Tayiba militant Nazir Ahmad Kaker, who was covered in a women's veil, joined a group of women and fired at the minister. At that time, other militants opened fire to facilitate his escape.

Sharma said Hizbul commander Hilal Dar greeted Ahad and paid him Rs 100,000 for his role in the killing.

Similar tactics were adopted to eliminate Lone's brother Mohiuddin on December 2, 2002 at Dooniwari and Ahad was paid Rs 50,000 for his role, Sharma said.

The arrested cops have been charged under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) and are likely to face the death penalty, if convicted.

Abdul Ahad has emerged as a major player in maintaining ties between policemen and militants.

Investigations so far have revealed his active involvement in several militant activities, including the killing of Lone and his elder brother, the DIG said.

The police expect a sharp decrease in militancy in Kupwara district with the arrest of the seven cops and a civilian as police had come to know the modus operandi of the militants.

Asked if this was just the tip of the iceberg, Sharma said, "I don't think there is much contamination in the J&K police, which has a 75 per cent success rate."

He said there was a need for improving the security setup at several police installations. The vulnerable police stations would be strengthened by providing extra communication facilities, fire power and transportation, he said.

More reports from Jammu and Kashmir

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