Srinagar- The Jammu and Kashmir police on Tuesday declared that two Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) militants involved in the broad daylight murder of Mirwaiz Molvi Muhammad Farooq have been arrested after a pursuit of over three decades.
With the arrest of Javaid Ahmad Bhat alias Ajmal Khan and Zahoor Ahmad Bhat alias Bilal, police said, the 33-year-old murder case of the then chief priest of the Valley, has reached its logical conclusion.
Mirwaiz Mohammad Farooq was assassinated inside his Nigeen residence on May 21, 1990. Killing of Mirwaiz was the first major political assasination in Kashmir then.
Addressing a press conference at police control room (PCR) here, Special Director General of Police (CID), RR Swain said that the two accused were associated with Hizbul Mujahideen and were evading arrest for over three decades.
The duo, hailing from Srinagar, he said, took shelter in Pakistan and Nepal before surreptitiously returning back to Kashmir a few years ago
“They maintained a low profile, changing addresses and shifting residences to avoid the gaze of law enforcement agencies. They have been handed over to CBI as proclaimed offenders, Swain said.
The senior police officer said the arrested militants included the one who had entered into the bedroom of Mirwaiz and opened fire at him.
A case regarding the killing of Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq was lodged in police station Nigeen under FIR 61/1990. The case was transferred to CBI on June, 11 1990 for investigation.
“Then the case was transferred to the CBI. The CBI had presented a charge-sheet against one accused after arresting him before the TADA court after which the court awarded life imprisonment to him,” Swain told reporters.
He further said it was during the investigation that CBI came to know that Hizb commander Abdullah Bangroo had hatched a conspiracy to kill Mirwaiz.
“Bangroo and his associate (both Hizb commanders) were killed in encounters while one accused was serving life imprisonment. Two more accused— Javaid Bhat and Zahoor Ahmed Bhat, both residents of Srinagar were arrested by the State Investigating Agency (SIA),” he said.
The special DGP said five militants were involved in the killing. While Bangroo and Rehman Shigan were killed in encounters, Ayub Dar underwent trial and was convicted for life, currently serving sentence in Srinagar central jail.
Javaid Bhat and Zahoor Bhat, Swain said, were absconding and hence escaped trial.
“It was actually the State Investigating Agency (SIA) that got the leads about the two militants and they helped the CBI in arresting them,” Swain added.
He further said that Ayub Dar, the convicted militant, appealed against his conviction, which however, was upheld by the Division Bench of Supreme Court in Criminal Appeal No.535 of 2009 on 21 July 2010.
Meanwhile, in a statement issued here, a police spokesperson said that the arrested Hizb men are now liable to immediately face trial in a designated TADA court in Delhi which has already completed the trial of Ayub Dar.
Mirwaiz Farooq, he said, was killed by Hizb militants for being a ‘peacenik’ and an ‘Indian agent’.
“Before killing Mirwaiz, all the five HM militants had gone to Pakistan for terrorist training in 1990. Back in Srinagar, Abdullah Bangroo received instructions in April 1990 from his ISI handler in Pakistan to eliminate Mirwaiz,” the spokesperson said.
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