Srinagar: Was slain Srinagar militant Sajad Gilkar involved in militant activities before becoming a militant? That is what police apparently claimed.
In a statement issued after his killing along with two other militants in Redbug Budgam, police said that Sajad Gilkar “played key role in the murder of Dy SP Mohammad Ayoub Pandith of security wing, who was lynched to death at Jamia Masjid, Nowhatta, Srinagar” and that he went “underground and joined HM militant ranks” after the incident (July 23).
While the police claim means that Gilkar had been a militant for less than three weeks, it does not stop them from implicating him in militant activities before the date.
“He (Sajad) was also involved in grenade attacks on CRPF at Nowhatta on 02.04.2017, CRPF camp Safa Kadal on 11.06.2017 and grenade attack on Police Party at Khanyar on 30.04.2017. He was involved in attack on Abdul Qayoom in Barzulla on 24.05.2017 and Army convoy near SKIMS Bemina on 01.04.2017,” the police statement said.
Contradicting the official police claim, Superintendent of police (Operations), Srinagar, Javid Iqbal told Kashmir Reader that Gilkar was only “suspected to be involved” in the militant attacks attributed to him.
“We have not confirmed that he was involved in these militancy-related attacks but have mentioned in the records that he was suspected,” said Javid.
Asked when police came to know about his joining militant ranks, SP Javid said that it was established by a local Station House Officer soon after Gilkar went missing.
“He was suspected as one can’t become a militant overnight without working for militants and providing them logistic support,” he added.
He claimed that even militants let someone join their ranks only after he carried out attacks like hurling grenades.
Javid, however, added that Gilkar was involved in a number of stone pelting cases. “Stone pelting is the first step to join militancy, and that’s why forces keep a number of stone pelters on suspect list for any militancy-related incident in their locality,” he said.
He said that forces would have to connect all militancy-related incidents which have happened in his locality.
Superintendent of police (north city) Sajad Shah said that the slain militant had gone missing on June 29, the day he was to appear in a hearing of 307 case at a court.
“We were looking for him as he was involved in the lynching case, but we couldn’t trace him out to apprehend him as he was missing since the lynching incident,” he said.
Earlier, police used to only call him to the station for his involvement in stone pelting cases.
Refuting the police charges, Gilkar’s family said he was neither involved in the Dy SP’s lynching nor in any of the militancy-related incidents that the police has claimed.
“Police is using his name in all these militancy-related incidents only to close these cases,” Gilkar’s brother Murtaza told Kashmir Reader.
Refuting the allegation of his brother’s involvement in the Dy SP’s lynching as baseless, Murtaza said that Sajad Gilkar was apprehended along with a friend at Jamia Masjid Nowhatta a few days after the lynching incident but was soon set free by the SHO Nowhatta though his friend is still in the custody.
“How did the police release him if he was involved in the case? He also attended the court hearing on June 29, the day he went missing,” said Murtaza.
“His friend was taken to the police station and is still in police custody, why was my brother not taken into custody and why was he let go of by the police only after they had thrashed him?” Murtaza asked.
He said on the second occasion after the lynching incident, police raided a neighbour’s house to detain a boy in a stone pelting case. “My brother thought the police had come to arrest him, he went to a police officer and told him they could take him but shouldn’t damage our house. But the officer told him they had not raided for him but for our neighbour,” said Murtaza.
He said that police raids on their house and their detaining Sajad had become a norm for them in the past. “On every raid, police used to damage our house, break its windows and doors, but that time the raid was conducted at our neighbour’s house,” Murtaza said.