2 HM terrorists involved in assassination of Moulvi Farooq arrested after 33 years: Police

Say investigation wing SIA tracked, arrested 2 absconding assailants, duo handed over to CBI

Say investigation wing SIA tracked, arrested 2 absconding assailants, duo handed over to CBI

Srinagar, May 16 (KNS): SIA of J&K Police on Tuesday said it arrested two Hizbul-Mujahideen terrorists who involved in the assassination of Mirwaiz Moulvi Mohammad Farooq on 21 May 1990 and were evading arrest since then.

According to a statement, issued to Kashmir News Service (KNS), the two had gone underground and during all these years were variously hiding in Nepal and Pakistan among other places before surreptitiously returning back to Kashmir few years ago.

The statement reads that maintaining a low profile, changing addresses and shifting residences, they avoided the gaze of law enforcement agencies.

"Accused in CBI case RC0501990S008 (pertaining to killing of Mirwaiz Farooq) they are now liable to immediately face trial in a designated TADA court in Delhi which has already completed the trial in respect of one of the five accused namely Ayub Dar code Ishfaq son of Late Abdul Ahad Dar of Rawalpora of Srinagar who has been convicted and serving a life sentence."

It reads that two other absconding accused terrorists found guilty in the killing of Mirwaiz, Abdullah Bangroo and Abdul Rehman Shigan, got killed in encounters with security forces in the 1990s.

"To recapitulate, on 21 May 1990, Mirwaiz Farooq, the head priest of Kashmir was killed by terrorists of Hizbul Mujahideen accusing him of being a 'peacenik' and an 'Indian agent'. Case FIR No 61/1990 came to be registered in Police Station Nageen to investigate the crime. Thereafter the government of the day transferred the investigation to CBI on 11 June 1990. After a long and arduous legal process of investigation and prosecution, the designated TADA court, in 2009, convicted the only arrested accused Ayub Dar for life."

It added that the remaining four remained on the run, while two (Abdullah Bangroo & Rehman Shigan) died in encounters, Javaid Bhat and Ayub Bhat managed to evade arrest.

"Ayub Dar, the convicted terrorist and one of the killers 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. Before killing Mirwaiz, all the five terrorists had gone to Pakistan for training in 1990. Back in Srinagar, Abdullah Bangroo received instructions in April 1990 from his ISI handler in Pakistan to eliminate Mirwaiz."

As per the statement, paraphrased excerpts from Supreme Court order reads that in 1990, in the month of April, accused Abdullah Bangroo, Javed Ahmed Bhat alias Ajmal Khan and Mohd. Ayub Dar alias Ishfaq, who belonged to Hizbul Mujahideen, entered into a criminal conspiracy to eliminate Mirwaiz Moulvi Farooq.

"Accused Abdulla Bangroo, who was then heading Hizbul Mujahideen, instructed Javed Ahmed Bhat alias Ajmal Khan and Mohd. Ayub Dar alias Ishfaq to plan elimination of Mirwaiz Moulvi Farooq. Javed Ahmed Bhat alias Ajmal Khan was then working as an Area Commander of Hizbul-Mujahideen in the downtown area of Srinagar; whereas the Javed was working as a Group Commander in that very area."

It added later on, Abdul Rehman Shigan alias Inayat and Zahoor Ahmed alias Bilal also joined the conspiracy. "It came out in the investigation that, in the second week of May 1990, under the instructions of Javed Ahmed Bhat alias Ajmal Khan, Mohd. Ayub Dar alias Ishfaq and Abdul Rehman Shigan alias Inayat had visited the residence of Moulvi Farooq at Nageen, Srinagar and had requested him for financial help to their terrorist organization i.e. Hizbul Mujahideen."

The statement reads that Moulvi Farooq had agreed to help them and had asked them to meet after 2/3 days during the morning hours. "Thereafter, two accused surveyed the area as per their plan and informed the details to Javed Ahmed Bhat alias Ajmal Khan. It was on 21.05.1990 that the three accused namely Mohd Ayub Dar alias Ishfaq , Abdul Rehman Shingan alias Inayat and Zahoor Ahmed alias Bilal alias Jana armed with loaded pistol visited the 'Mirwaiz Manzil' at Nageen."

The statement reads that the accused Javed Ahmed Bhat alias Bilal had instructed the appellant that, out of the three accused persons, Zahoor Ahmed alias Bilal would fire on Moulvi Farooq and the remaining two accused persons namely Ayub Dar and Abdul Rehman Shingan were to provide cover to Zahoor Ahmed alias Bilal.

"As per the plan, they all reached the gate of Mirwaiz Manzil and met Maqbool Shah, the gate-keeper and informed him that they wanted to meet Moulvi Farooq. Maqbool Shah then asked Gulam Qadir Sofi, the gardener, to take them to the Personal Assistant as he himself was going to the market."

The statement reads that accordingly, the gardener - Ghulam Qadir Sofi took the three to the Personal Assistant namely Saidur Rehman , who asked them about their names and one of them disclosed his fake name as Gulzar Farooq R/o. Batmaloo.

"That name was written by the Personal Assistant on a slip of paper and the said slip was sent inside the room of Moulvi Farooq through the gardener Ghulam Qadir Sofi. After sometime, Moulvi Farooq called the three accused inside the Office, on which Zahoor Ahmed alias Bilal entered the room of Moulvi Farooq and the remaining two accused persons including Javed Bhat took position in the PA's room."

As per the statement on entering the room of Moulvi Farooq, Zahoor Ahmed alias Bilal fired several rounds at Moulvi Farooq from his pistol and immediately, accused Inayat also fired from his pistol in the air while coming out of PA's room, which hit the outside wall of the Office.

"On hearing the sound of firing, the gardener came inside the Office and tried to catch hold of Ishfaq, who was trying to escape. However, all the accused persons escaped giving a push to the Gardener Ghulam Qadir Sofi. Accused Bilal also tried to run away, but he was caught by Ghulam Qadir Sofi. There was a scuffle between the two, in which Bilal sustained an injury below his right eye. Later, after firing one round from his pistol, Bilal also managed to escape."

It added that the accused persons ran towards Kashmir University, who were followed by Ghulam Qadir Sofi up to the main road and near the University Gate, the assailants ran towards Soura through the University compound and reached Chatargam in the afternoon.

"They then reported killing of Moulvi Farooq to Abdulla Bangroo alias Ajmal Khan. All the three accused persons were directed by Abdullah Bangroo to go underground for sometime."

The statement reads that during trail running for several years, it could be established that the terrorist who pulled the trigger on Mirwaiz Farooq on the fateful day on the directions of then HM commander Abdullah Bangroo was Zahoor Bhat who ironically succeeded in evading arrest by going into hiding. (KNS)

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