Srinagar: “Well- knit conspiracy hatched by active militants of Hizbul Mujhahideen and negligence and dereliction of duties on part of some police officials has come to the fore while investigating death of HM militant Mushtaq Ahmed Chopan who got killed by a grenade blast lobbed by militants while escaping from police custody on 26 February, 2018,” reads the police report submitted before the State Human Rights Commission.
The report, filed by Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Awantipora, states that on 18 October 2017, information was received at police station (PS) Tral that some terrorists had fired upon SPO Abdul Haleem Gojar, who succumbed to his injuries. A case was registered under FIR no.76/2017 and during investigation, involvement of HM militants namely Adil Chopan, Mushtaq Ahmad Chopan and Umer Fayaz came to the fore. Adil Ahmad Chopan was neutralised in an encounter and accused Mushtaq Ahmad Chopan was arrested by PS Sopore on 8 January 2018. After that, his custody was taken by PS Tral on account of FIR no.76/2017. The accused made a disclosure at the strength of which a hideout of militants was busted at Nag Nidhi Pinglish from where some eatables and articles were recovered.
The report further states that on 26 February 2018, when Mushtaq Chopan came out for lunch, he stated that he had to attend to nature’s call and went inside a bathroom. After sometime, a burqa-clad person came out from the toilet block and crossed the main gate of PS Tral.
“When a police official observed that a burqa clad person appearing as a lady came out of toilet block, he informed the Incharge guard that since no lady wearing burqa has visited police station on the said date, as such he may look (into) who is the person in the burqa. At this, guard asked the burqa clad person to stop but he managed to cross the gate. In the meantime one selection grade constable (Sg Ct) namely Mehraj-ud-din was coming to PS Tral. He managed to hold the escapee but a loud bang occurred in which escapee got seriously injured and later on succumbed to his injuries. The Sg Ct also got injured. The garments which were worn by deceased before changing them with the ladies’ dress were recovered from the bathroom and one pistol, two magazines and 13 live cartridges were recovered from dead body which were hidden in the wrist belt worn by him,” the report reads.
As per SSP Awantipora, the investigation which was conducted into the case revealed that some militants of HM and some other persons were involved in the commission of the crime. “The negligence and dereliction on part of some police officials who were posted on the date of occurrence has also come to fore. The investigation of the case is still going on and will be taken to its logical conclusion,” the police report states.
In the previous hearing on this matter, the SHRC had given “last opportunity” of ten days to SSP Awantipora to file a report on how a Hizb militant was killed while in police custody on 26 February 2018.
A petition filed by human rights activist Ahsan Untoo before the SHRC stated that it was improbable that the militant locked up inside a police station could have been escaping wearing a burqa (woman’s veil) as claimed by police. Untoo argued in his petition that the militant was killed in cold blood and the Station House Officer (SHO) Tral and SSP Awantipora were responsible for the killing.