Was posted in MLA’s security detail to perform ‘menial chores’
Srinagar: The special police officer (SPO) who ran away with a tranche of weapons from the official residence of PDP legislator Ajaz Mir in Srinagar was involved in stone-throwing protests before joining the police and was currently in the loop with militants.
Police officials scanning through his antecedents stumbled upon these facts after SPO Adil Bashir Sheikh rattled the region’s security establishment by fleeing with seven weapons and the licensed pistol of Ajaz Mir, PDP MLA from Shopian’s Wachi constituency, from his Jawahar Nagar government flat. Among the many surprise police have come across during investigations is that Adil was not even allotted a service weapon even though he was part of the security detail of the legislator.
Antecedents of the policemen deployed as guards of politicians and influential persons are occasionally checked by the police’s intelligence wing. In Adil’s case, though, police learnt about his “negative” antecedents only after he escaped with the weapons.
“Adil was drawn from the (Shopian) district police unit for doing menial chores at the legislator’s home,” a senior police officer told Kashmir Reader.
He said that Adil was chosen because he and the legislator both belonged to Shopian’s Zainpora.
If that wasn’t the reason, the police officer said, it is “unbelievable” that a policeman with charges as “serious” as stone-throwing could have gotten such a posting.
Adil was charged with the crime of stone-throwing in 2014. His name was part of the FIR (27/2014) that was submitted to court, said a senior police officer, pleading anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.
Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh also confirmed that Adil had earlier come in contact with militants.
Deputy Inspector General of Police, Central Kashmir, Vidhi Kumar Birdi did not reveal details of Adil’s antecedents and said police are still gathering records for investigations.
The preliminary investigations have found “multiple security” breaches in the embarrassing incident at the MLA’s official residence. A few weeks ago, police issued a security advisory to the Wachi MLA to not let the police guards go on leave without depositing their weapons at the area’s police station. In spite of that, 9 security guards proceeded on unauthorised leave and kept their weapons in a trunk at the guardroom at the MLA’s official residence after Ajaz Mir left for Chandigarh.
So far, the suspension of three of these policemen has been confirmed. The status of the others is still unclear.
“For us, the MLA was in Kashmir because he did not convey to us about his trip outside the state, as protocol mandates,” the police officer told Kashmir Reader. “Also, the police guards did not inform their seniors about it (their going on leave).”
DIG Birdi said that the police guards are being questioned and it has been found they were not at the spot when the weapons were taken away.
Adil’s father, Bashir Ahmad Sheikh, has also been taken into custody for questioning from his Zainpora residence. Adil’s elder brother, Javed Ahmad, said that his younger brother came home on Friday at about 9:45am on Friday and stayed for an hour or so. “He left for duty,” Javed said, adding that the next he learnt was that Adil had fled with several weapons.