PDP legislator Aijaz Mir finds it hard to believe that a man who had canvassed for him during Assembly elections would "betray" him and run away with weapons from his official residence to join militants.
Last Friday, Adil Sheikh, 24, a special police officer stole seven rifles of Mir's seven guards and his licensed pistol from the Jawahar Nagar quarters. Three days later, a photo on social media purportedly showed Adil with a band of militants, among them Hizbul Mujahideen commander Zeenat-ul-Islam, at some unknown location.
A Special Investigation Team has been formed to find out how the weapons loot was planned and executed. The incident also prompted the police to announce that SPOs would not be deployed for personal security of protected persons hereafter.
Mir, who was in Jammu on the fateful day for treatment of his back ache, spoke to Greater Kashmir at his quarters.
"Adil was my most trusted man as he took part in election rallies in 2014 and sought votes for me," Mir said.
He said he had told one of his personal security officers (PSO) that he would return on Friday. The PSO had asked Adil to visit the quarters and clean the rooms. Mir said he was the first to inform the police about the theft of weapons. He also had informed the police about his Jammu trip and had been provided a vehicle and a guard there. And, Mir said, there was no reason for him to suspect Adil.
"He used to call me Aijaz bhaiya (brother) and I always used to treat him like my younger brother. He would inform me about shortcomings in my constituency. Since he belonged to Zainapora that falls in my constituency he would often talk about people's grievances regarding roads, water, electric transformers," he said.
"I never thought Adil would backstab me and betray me in such a manner. He broke my trust. Thank God I am alive."
Asked whether Adil ever showed any sign of having links with militants, Mir said, "He was a calm person. I never heard him speaking to anyone in a suspicious manner."
Whether he had recommended appointment of Adil as SPO? Mir said he is "nobody to provide a job to anyone".
"I have not appointed him as SPO. But when he told me he had been appointed as SPO I requested the concerned to post him at my place because he belonged to my native village and was known to me," Mir said.
Mir said a police team from the Rajbagh police station arrived at J-11 quarters at Jawahar Nagar and recorded his statement about the incident.
"I cooperated with the police and I am ready to extend full support to them. I am ready to face any sort of investigation," he said.
The PDP legislator, however, took to Facebook and Twitter to complain about a police official at Rajbagh station who he said "abused me and my family members".
"There is some Munshi at the police station Rajbagh who has hurled abuses at me and my family members. This behaviour of a policeman against an elected representative is totally unjustified and against rules," he said.
Mir wrote on Facebook and Twitter: "Is this a policing? How can a Munshi (policeman) of Rajbagh police station abuse a legislator in front of dozens of other policemen? And then went on levelling serious allegations, accusations against his family as well. Is this how police probes things here by humiliating even legislators and levelling baseless allegations?"