Jammu: Five of the Hindu men who carried out the murderous attack on two Kashmiri Muslim truckers are affiliated with a rightwing Hindu organisation, sources in the police department said.
Showkat Ahmad Dar of Uranhal and Zahid Ahmad of Batengoo, Anantnag, suffered serious burn injuries when a Hindu mob attacked their truck with a petrol bomb in Udhampur on October 9, while their colleague Rameez Ahmad had escaped unhurt after jumping out of the truck.
Zahid succumbed at Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital on Sunday morning.
The attack was preceded by rumours that the three cows, whose carcasses had been found near an office, had been slaughtered to stoke communal passions. It later turned out that the cows had eaten some poisonous substance, a fact testified by their owner.
In their statements, the trio had said the assailants emerged out of hotel and appeared quite prepared for the attack. Two other truckers from Anantnag, who had also been attacked with a petrol bomb (one of them, Sayar Ahmad, was injured) had said the police appeared complicit in the crime because they offered no help.
There has been no official word on the political affiliations of the assailants who have been named as Sandoor Singh son of Thakur Singh, a resident of Dheda in Gool; Danish alias Pamma son of Khushia of Ward No 12, Dewak, Udhampur; Harish Singh Katoch son of Chuni Lal Katoch of Bhimdassa, Gool; Balbahadur Singh alias Abbu son of Girdhari Lal of Moungri; and Varinder Singh alias Kaka of Shiv Nagar, Udhampur. They have been booked under the PSA.
Udhampur deputy commissioner Shahid Iqbal said two more assailants have been arrested.
The four other accused are Jasbir Singh son of Baldev Singh of Laddan Power House; Rahul Sharma son of Purshottam of Sambal: Suneet Singh son of Pardeep Singh of Sambal and Rameshwar Singh alias Gushu son of Karan Singh of Sambal.
“During interrogation of the accused persons the police produced a dossier in which the accused have admitted that they have been associated with a rightwing Hindu organization and carried out the attack in the wake of killing of cows,” a police official told Kashmir Reader on condition of anonymity.
However, authorities denied having knowledge of any such disclosure by the accused and claimed that the investigation is still under progress.
Udhampur senior superintendent of police Mohammad Suleman Chowdhary said, “They are rowdy criminals involved in many cases earlier as well. Till now, investigation did not reveal their affiliations with any group, so it (the attack) may or may not be politically motivated.”
“The accused persons have been booked under the Public Safety Act, but after the death of one of the victims they will be probably tried for murder too,” he said.
The SSP added that so far they accused have been booked for attempt to murder, arson and under the sections of Explosives Substances Act.
Although Suleman said the accused have a “number of criminal cases” registered against them, he did not give details of such cases.
Leaders of various Hindu organizations denied they have any link with the accused.
“In a state like Jammu and Kashmir we are for peace. Our organization would not and cannot allow killing of innocents,” said an RSS leader, wishing anonymity.
He said the accused might have attended programmes of the RSS, but that does not make them its member or activist.