SRINAGAR: Family members of Idrees Ahmad Baba, an alleged over-ground worker (OGW) of militants who was arrested by police earlier this week from north Kashmir’s Bandipora district have refuted the police claims saying Idress was already in police custody and charges leveled against him were false.
Police on January 7 claimed that Idrees, a resident of Asham village of Sonawari, was arrested by a police party of sub division Sumbal along with marine commandos (MARCOS) from fringes of Wular Lake at Banyaria area of the district on the intervening night of January 6 and 7 with arms and ammunition.
“During wee hours a suspicious person was noticed and was challenged to stop. When the person found himself encircled by the forces, he surrendered by raising his hands” the police in its statement claimed. “On his search, one pistol, 4 pistol magazine rounds, one AK 47 magazine, 30 AK rounds, 2 UBGL grenades and a Chinese hand grenade was recovered from his possession,” the statement added.
Sajad Ahmad Baba, Idrees’s brother, told Kashmir Reader that Idrees was not arrested from Banyaria because he was in police custody from more than a week. “We were shocked to hear the news that my brother was arrested from Banyaria along with arms and ammunitions as he was in their custody from December 25,” Baba said.
Baba claimed that his brother had received a telephone call from Sub-District Police Officer (SDPO), Tahir Amin, on December 24 and asked him to report at police station Sumbal. “The next day he went to the police station Sumbal where he was detained,” Baba said adding that how was it possible that a person in custody would be arrested from some other place with arms and ammunitions.
He said that elders of the village along with his father met Idrees couple of times in the police station Sumbal after he was detained. “My father and the elders of the village spoke to the SDPO regarding his detention, however, the police officer told them that the matter was lying with Inspector General of Police,” Baba said adding, “Charges leveled against him are baseless and fabricated. Idrees was presented before media as an OGW in police custody.”
Tahir Amin, SDPO Sumbal, termed family claims as allegations. “This area has over one lakh population and why would we harass someone without any reason,” he said.
Amin said that police had called Idress for talks before being arrested in Banyaria. “He was let off that day,” Amin said adding, “Since his elder brother, Rayees, was detained earlier and there were recoveries from him, we felt Idress too might be having contacts with militants. Although earlier investigation did not reveal such things but further investigations revealed that he has something to do with all this.”
“We launched a search operation and his movement was there. He tried to flee the spot and we picked him from there,” Amin said.
Baba said that Idress runs a shop at his village where he sells blankets. He said the he would spend most of the time at his shop. “It did not seem that he has contacts with militants only God knows whether or not he was an OGW.”
Baba said that his family is being targeted because they are associated with Jamaat-e-Islami and support the pro-freedom sentiments.