Srinagar: A police constable on Thursday deposed before a court in Srinagar that notorious Ikhwani Ghulam Muhammad Lone aka Papa Kishtwari and his associates carried guns on themselves in 1996, the year when the constable along with three other policemen were deputed as PSOs (personal security guards) to Kishtwari. The constable is one of 31 witnesses in the murder case of a contractor, Ali Muhammad Mir, allegedly killed by Kishtwari and his associates.
Mir, who lived in Srinagar’s Nishat area, was allegedly abducted in 1996 by Kishtwari and his four associates and subsequently killed. The case dairy states that two among the associates are dead and one, Mohammad Maqbool, is absconding. The other two, including Kishtawari, are in central Jail Srinagar.
In 1996, a missing report was lodged at Nishat police station by the family members of Mir. In 2007, police stated that Kishtwari and his associates killed Mir and a chargesheet was produced before the court.
Police have, however, failed to locate Mir’s body and also failed to locate the absconding accused.
The constable, who appeared as a prosecution witness, deposed that Kishtwari and the other accused were camping in Pampore and were armed along with 15-20 other persons. Deposing in the 4th additional session’s court, he said that during the elections of 1996, he (the constable) along with three police personnel were deputed as PSOs to Kishtwari. He said that Kishtwari would often leave two policemen to guard his family and ask the two others to travel with him.
The witness said that he stayed with the former Ikhwani for a year, during which they often travelled in Pulwama in connection with elections. The constable remained in Kishtwari’s personal security for a year and was later transferred.
The three living accused – Papa Kishtwari, Ghulam Rasool Ganaie aka Gulzar, and Khurshid Ahmed Ganaie, against whom FIR number 16/2007 under section 302,364,342,120-B of RPC is registered in police station Nishat, have been in jail for the past 11 years.
Papa Kishtwari worked as a watchman in a factory in Pampore before becoming a government gunman, or Ikhwani.