India's National Investigation Agency (NIA) received a formal order on Saturday from the country's Home Ministry to book suspended Jammu and Kashmir Police officer Davinder Singh and investigate his links with militants.
Singh was taken into police custody on 11 January while travelling on the national highway from the Shopian district to the city of Jammu. Jammu and Kashmir Police said he was accompanied by two suspected militants, Naveed Babu alias Babar Azam and Rafi Ahmed Rather, and that he had been booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), an anti-terror law, and the Arms Act. A third person, Irfan Shafi Mir, was also arrested and is said to be a lawyer.
Babu and Rather are said to be commanders of the Hizbul Mujahideen terror outfit, which operates actively in Jammu and Kashmir, according to local administration and police sources.
India’s Home Ministry has instructed the NIA to “take a hard and close look at his (Davinder Singh’s) involvement with terror groups. Preliminary investigations have revealed this is not the first time that Singh, a decorated police officer, has been suspected of having close links with militants.
After receiving the Home Ministry’s order, the NIA has taken charge of the case under the supervision of a senior officer of inspector general rank, a spokesperson for the agency said, adding that an NIA team is in Srinagar and is expected to begin investigations starting Monday (20 January).
Founded in 1989, the Kashmiri militant group Hizb-ul- Mujahideen seeks the independence of Kashmir from India. It is comprised of local Kashmiri youth and has seen many commanders from near the town of Tral, considered by Indian authorities to be a hotbed of militancy.