Arrest of Davinder Singh

The arrest of senior J&K Police officer Davinder Singh along with two top Hizbul Mujahideen militants has sent alarm bells ringing in the security establishment of the country. The three, along with a lawyer, were caught on their way to New Delhi just days ahead of the Republic Day. On its face, it is unimaginable that a decorated police officer will be caught accompanying the militants. This has triggered a lot many speculations which the ongoing investigation into the development by the NIA will hopefully be able to answer.

Incidentally, days before being caught with militants, Singh was part of the security team who had received the 16 foreign envoys at Srinagar airport. He was filmed standing right behind one of the convoys.

There is not much that is known from the preliminary investigation except the unconfirmed reports that Singh was taking the militants to New Delhi for some cash. But the way the development has exploded right before our eyes, few people are ready to believe any facile-looking explanation. Singh’s controversial past gives reasons to believe that there is much more here than meets the eye. The controversies surrounding Singh begin with the letter of the hanged parliament attack convict Afzal Guru in which he accused the police officer of forcing him to accompany one of the attackers of the parliament to New Delhi and arranging an accommodation for him there. The attacker “Mohammad” was subsequently killed during attack on the parliament. The accusation was never investigated, although in an interview to media in 2006, Singh had admitted to torturing Guru in custody but denied sending any militant with him.

Singh has also faced allegations of extortion and had once also been accused of having sold contraband from a drug peddler after nabbing him. But he was always let off the hook. His record in counter-insurgency always helped him emerge unscathed.

Recruited as a sub-inspector in J&K Police in 1994 Singh came to be inducted in the Special Operations Group (SOG) of the police which was exclusively tasked to combat militancy. His exceptional performance helped him soon become the Deputy Superintendent of Police. But following complaints of extortion, Singh was removed from the SOG and posted to traffic department. But he continued to be important, nevertheless and soon got prize postings in the department. When Singh was arrested with the militants, he was posted at the anti-hijacking unit of Srinagar airport which has only further raised the level of alarm over his motives.

On its part, J&K Police has done well to arrest him just when he was on way to New Delhi along with militants. The NIA is now expected to reveal the motive behind Singh’s action. And there is much that is at stake in the answers to this motive.

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