Srinagar: Syed Naveed Shah, the policeman who decamped with four service rifles including three of his colleagues from the guardroom of Food Corporation of India (FCI) godown at Chandpora village in Budgam district on Saturday evening, was under watch since a while for his “suspicious activities”, reliable sources told Kashmir Reader.
The sources said that on the day Shah decamped with the weapons, he was joined by two other associates from the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, one among them believed to be the militant outfit’s operational commander Yaseen Yatoo.
The sources said that the two militants turned up at the FCI godown during the forenoon and Shah introduced them to two of his colleagues as his friends.
“Both the militants had their lunch together with Shah and two other policemen. They were together till the evening, as they waited for an opportune time to run away with the weapons,” the sources said.
They said four policemen are normally posted on guard duty at the FCI store. “One of the four policemen was absent from duties on the day. At about 5:30 in the evening, one of the policemen went out for some personal work. Shah sent the remaining one to the nearby market in Nasrullahpora to fetch mutton,” the sources said.
Soon after the policeman left for the market, Shah along with the other two militants decamped with the four rifles.
Shah and his two associates are believed to have fled in the car in which the two Hizb militants arrived to the FCI godown.
“When the policeman returned to the FCI store, he found Shah along with the rifles missing. He called up his seniors and informed them,” the sources said.
Soon after the incident, police along with the army cordoned off the area and a manhunt was launched to find the missing cop.
A senior police officer told Kashmir Reader that the cop was already under watch for his suspicious activities.
“The cop was already listed among the suspect policemen. Earlier during his posting in Shopian district, he was posted at a position that required no weapons to be carried on him,” the officer said.
Shah was posted at Budgam about two months ago. “The SSP Shopian had informed the SSP Budgam at the time of his transfer about his suspicious activities,” the officer said.
SSP Budgam Tejinder Singh told Kashmir Reader that investigations were going on into the incident. “Police are working hard to trace the missing cop and recover the weapons he has decamped with,” he said.
He said the three other policemen at the store have been suspended for failing to guard their service weapon.
“The three policemen, along with other employees at FCI, are being questioned. We are investigating the matter through different angles and also verifying whether anyone had visited the place during the day,” he said.
Shah’s running away with the rifles is the first such incident this year. In last two years, two such incidents were reported where two policemen decamped with the service rifles of their fellow policemen. One of the policemen who decamped with the rifles and later joined militants was posted as a guard at the residence of PDP minister Altaf Bukhari.