THREE Special Police Officers (SPOs) were among seven people arrested by Jammu Kashmir Police at Banihal yesterday after they were found escorting a wanted Hizbul Mujahideen militant to Valley from Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh adjoining Nepal .
Identifying the arrested militant as Abdul Rashid of Dooru (Kulgam) in Kashmir, Deputy Inspector General of Police for Ramban-Doda-Kishtwar range, Garib Dass, said that he had sneaked into India from Nepal along with an 85-year-old Gul Zaman, Marium Begum, 55, and a nine-year-old Rehan. While Marium happens to be the mother of another Hizbul militant Manzoor Bhat of Kupwara who is still camping in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), Rehan is his son.
The apprehended SPOs included Mehboob Bhat, Jahangir Beig and Shamas Din Beig. While the first one was Marium’s son, the last two happened to be the relatives of Gul Zaman. Manzoor Bhat and Abdul Rashid had crossed over to PoK from Kupwara way back in 2002 and the former had married even a local girl there.
However, while Manzoor along with his wife stayed back in PoK, he sent his mother Marium and minor son Rehan with his accomplice Abdul Rashid. All of them were traveling in a Tavera which was intercepted at a police naka in Banihal laid under supervision of the DIG for Ramban-Doda-Kishtwar range on a specific tip off..
All the four had flown to Kathmandu from Pakistan and from there, they had sneaked into India through Gorakhpur where the SPOs had been waiting to receive them, sources said.
Three more people hailing from Valley were apprehended from the vehicle, but later let off after preliminary questioning. The arrested militant along three SPOs, besides Marium, her 9-year-old grandson and Gul Zaman were handed over to CIK (Counter Intelligence Kashmir) wing of the state police for further investigations.
This has not been the first time that police have arrested anybody returning to Valley from PoK. Ever since Chief Minister Omar Abdullah announced his new policy for return and rehabilitation of misguided Kashmiri youth, who wish to leave the gun and return from across the Line of Control (LoC) to lead a peaceful life at home, nearly 1,500 people have sought government permission in the matter. An over 200 such youth along with their families have been apprehended while returning to Valley either after crossing the LoC or using the Nepal route so far.