Kashmir: Who Is Police Officer Davinder 'Torture' Singh?
Ishfaq-ul-Hassan | India Tomorrow
SRINAGAR, JANUARY 16—From being hero-worshipped for his role in counter-insurgency operations to being treated as a `terrorist’, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP) Davinder Singh has come a long way to epitomize the degeneration in the security establishment in Jammu and Kashmir.
Singh, who was posted in anti-hijacking wing at Srinagar Airport, was arrested along with Hizbul commander Naveed Babu and Altaf when they were travelling in a car from Shopian district of South Kashmir on Saturday. Police sources said Singh was trying to drive Hizbul commanders possibly out of the valley. Two AK-47 rifles were recovered in a subsequent raid at Singh’s house in Srinagar.
A highly decorated officer, Singh was appointed as sub-inspector in Jammu and Kashmir police in 1990. Soon after he was posted in a police station and in one of his operations, he recovered narcotics but did not reflect it on the papers. He was suspended but eventually reinstated.
Later, he joined Special Operations Group(SOG), counter-insurgency wing of Jammu and Kashmir police, to take on the militants. He has been one of the dreaded cops who have been accused of human rights abuses and extortion.
Singh hogged the headlines when Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru mentioned his name in his letters. Guru had written that he was the man who handed over Mohammad, one of the four slain in Parliament attack, to him. Guru was allegedly asked to arrange the logistics for the Parliament attackers in New Delhi.
“Police has no record of his involvement in the case related to Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru”, said Vijay Kumar, Inspector General of Police, Kashmir Zone.
Nicknamed `Torture Singh’, he was notorious for tormenting people in custody when he was posted at SOG, Srinagar. Singh was also named in the report titled `Structures of Violence’ released by J&K Coalition of Civil Society and other groups in 2015. His name figured as case no. 129 in which he was accused of killing a student Aijaz Ahmad Bazaz allegedly in custody.
“He was in SOG Cargo and Humhama for long time. He conducted several anti-militancy operations. Last year, he was even given state award for his role in counter insurgency operations. Despite being darling of the department, he did not have clean slate. When he was posted in traffic department, he was alleged to extort money from motorists”, said a top official.
Even when he was caught along with militants, he tried to mislead investigators. First, he told them that he was undercover cop trying to persuade the militants for surrender. But when he was asked on whose directions he was doing it, he had no convincing answer. Later, investigators questioned the militants who told them that he had charged Rs 12 lakh to take them out of the valley.
Police has now formed Special Investigation Team headed by deputy inspector general of police rank officer to probe his role. Sources said sleuths are trying to draw parallels between his role in Parliament attack and driving militants out of the valley. Investigators are trying to find out whether he was trying to take militants out by air given that he was posted in anti-hijacking wing of the police.
Sources said multi-agency sleuths are interrogating him to find out his role and any other false-flag operation he might have conducted. So far, it has been established that he was hiding militants in his home and even couriering their weapons using his privilege as policeman.
“We consider DySP Singh’s involvement as a heinous crime and he will be dealt in the same manner as other arrested militants,” Vijay Kumar, Inspector General of Police, Kashmir Zone, told reporters on Sunday.