Ex-cop Says Omar Abdullah Paid Him Rs.15 Lakh To Get Masarat Alam Arrested

11 March 2015
India Today

New Delhi: As former Srinagar Senior Superintendent of Police Ashiq Hussain Bukhari revealed that in 2010 the then Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah paid him Rs.15 lakh for arresting Masarat Alam Bhat, the National Conference described the statement as 'malicious propaganda' against the NC working president. 'Ashiq Hussain Bukhari has no credibility and objectivity. His allegations against Omar Abdullah are unfounded, defamatory, baseless and totally false. We are contemplating to take legal action against him,' NC spokesman Junaid Azim Matto said at a press conference at the party headquarters on Tuesday evening. A news website, on Tuesday morning, had carried Bukhari's interview in which he claimed that Abdullah had said 'Why he didn't you bump off this man?' on being informed that Alam was arrested. However, Bukhari later denied saying this. 'These malicious allegations are levelled by a person who was campaigning for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during the 2014 elections. He was garlanded by PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed during an election campaign rally in Kupwara,' Matto said. Matto described Bukhari as the pioneer of the Special Operation Group (SOG) of the state police, which was infamous for human rights abuses. In 2002 the Mufti Mohammad Sayeed-led government disbanded the SOG and merged it with the Jammu and Kashmir Police. Bukhari, in his interview, claimed that Abdullah rewarded him with Rs.15 lakh for arresting Alam after three months of search. Bukhari told Mail Today that Abdullah even promoted seven of his men (police personnel) out of turn for arresting Alam. Bukhari further revealed that during his more than three-year tenure as the SSP Srinagar, his department received Rs.1.5 crore from the government for 'maintaining peace' in the city. 'When last year elections were declared, I had retired from the service by then. Abdullah described me as killer and held me responsible for the 2010 killings of youth, while no such killings had taken place during my tenure,' Bukhari said. 'Why the Omar Abdullah government awarded me if I was involved in killings?' he asked. 'All these months I remained silent but I can reveal many things now.' He said, in 2010, he arrested some 1,600 people along with Alam and if all those 1,600 could be released, so can Alam. 'He is one of them,' he said. Meanwhile, well-known human rights activist Khuram Parvez, in a statement, said, 'Bukhari's allegations confirm the truth that the people of Jammu and Kashmir have known: Extrajudicial executions, torture, disappearances and other crimes have been routinely used by the Indian state to control the population of Jammu and Kashmir. Fake encounters, as proposed by Omar Abdullah in the case of Masarat Alam, has been a regular tool of the state.' 'Bukhari himself has numerous allegations of human rights violations against him, in addition to, directly and-or under the principle of command responsibility, killing of 18 persons in Srinagar upon him taking control of Srinagar as SSP in June 2010,' he alleged. 'As an immediate step, ex-SSP Ashiq Bukhari must stand by his statements and we will file a case against the then Chief Minister Omar Abdullah,' Parvez added. Centre not satisfied with J-K report The Centre is not satisfied with the Jammu and Kashmir government's second clarification over the release of Hurriyat leader Masarat Alam, who is an accused the 2010 stone pelting incident. A Union Home Ministry official said there was no clarity on the sequence of events leading to Alam's release. A letter written by the Jammu and Kashmir Home Department to the District Magistrate of Jammu has stoked a fresh controversy, as it claimed that the order for his release was sent in February this year when Governor N.N. Vohra was in charge of affairs of the state. The fresh report sent by the state government has no mention of this. The Opposition had attacked the NDA government over Alam's release since the BJP is part of the ruling alliance in Jammu and Kashmir. In an earlier report sent to the Home ministry, the state government said there were 27 cases registered against the Hurriyat leader under the Indian Penal Code and eight instances of detention under the state government's Public Safety Act. 'Shri Masarat Alam has been bailed out in all substantive cases and was detained under the Public Safety Act intermittently since February 4, 2010, there are no fresh grounds for his continued detention, therefore, he has been released,' the first Jammu and Kashmir report to the Home Ministry said. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh made it clear on Tuesday that his government's top priority was national security and not the continuance of the government in the state where the BJP is an alliance partner. 'For us any government, whether in alliance or not, that is not our priority. Our priority is country and its security. You should understand this intention of ours,' Singh had said on Tuesday. The Home ministry is contemplating sending a strong advisory to the Jammu and Kashmir government on dealing with hardliners but on Tuesday the state gave an assurance that no other separatists will be released without consulting the Home ministry.