2 Hizb terrorists involved in Mirwaiz Farooq’s assassination arrested after 33 years: Special DG CID R R Swain

"Over these years, they were hiding in Pakistan and Nepal to avoid arrest. Both have been detained and handed over to CBI as proclaimed offenders."
"It was Zahoor who had pulled the trigger after entering Mirwaiz's bedroom," Swain said.
"It was Zahoor who had pulled the trigger after entering Mirwaiz's bedroom," Swain said.Aman Farooq/GK

Srinagar: Special Director General (DG) CID Jammu and Kashmir, Rashmi Ranjan Swain Tuesday said that the State Investigation Agency (SIA) of J&K Police arrested two absconding terrorists of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen involved in the assassination of Kashmir's then chief cleric Mirwaiz Moulvi Muhammad Farooq after 33 years.

Addressing a news conference here, Swain said, "SIA arrested Javed Bhat and Zahoor Bhat who had managed to escape along with two others after the killing of Mirwaiz Farooq at his residence on May 21, 1990."

He said that the absconding terrorists on the run were arrested by the SIA and handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The Special DG said that absconders had been arrested by, “the long arms of the law after more than 30 years. They will face a trial now. With this, all accused in Mirwaiz's killing have been brought to justice”.

He said that a case was registered at Nigeen Police Station in the killing of Mirwaiz Farooq on May 21, 1990, which was later transferred to the CBI.

"During the trial, it was found out that there are five accused including Ayoub Dar, who was convicted for a life sentence by the TADA court, while the remaining four accused were absconding. The main accused Abdullah Bangaroo was killed in an encounter. Another accused, Abdul Rehman Shigan, was also killed in an encounter. Javed Bhat alias Ajmal Khan and Zahoor Bhat alias Bilal managed to escape. It was Zahoor who had pulled the trigger after entering Mirwaiz's bedroom," Swain said. “The SIA arrested Javaid Bhat and Zahoor Ahmed Bhat. Over these years, they were hiding in Pakistan and Nepal to avoid arrest. Both have been detained and handed over to CBI as proclaimed offenders."


Meanwhile, J&K Police in a statement issued here said, “In a significant operation, SIA of J&K Police arrested two Hizb-ul-Mujahideen terrorists Javaid Ahmad Bhat code Ajmal Khan, son of late Habibullah Bhat of Solina Bala, presently at Azad Basti, Natipora, Srinagar, and Zahoor Ahmad Bhat code Bilal, son of late Muhammad Ramzan Bhat of Danderkhaw, Batamaloo, Srinagar."

The statement said that both were absconding after murdering Mirwaiz Farooq on May 21, 1990.

“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 a few years ago. Maintaining a low profile, changing addresses and shifting residences, they avoided the gaze of law enforcement agencies,” the Police statement said.

It said that the accused in CBI case RC0501990S008 (pertaining to the killing of Mirwaiz Farooq) were now liable to immediately face trial in a designated TADA Court in Delhi which had already completed the trial in respect of one of the five accused Ayub Dar code Ishfaq, son of late Abdul Ahad Dar of Rawalpora, Srinagar, who had been convicted was serving a life sentence.

The Police statement said that two other absconding accused terrorists Abdullah Bangroo and Abdul Rehman Shigan were killed in encounters with security forces in the 1990s.

“To recapitulate, on May 21, 1990, Mirwaiz Farooq, the head priest of Kashmir was killed by terrorists of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen accusing him of being a ‘peacenik’ and an ‘Indian agent,’” the J&K Police statement said. “Case FIR No 61/1990 came to be registered in Police Station Nigeen, Srinagar to investigate the crime. Thereafter the government of the day transferred the investigation to the CBI on June 11, 1990.”

It said: “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. The remaining four remained on the run. While Bangroo Shigan died in encounters, Javaid Bhat and Ayub Bhat managed to evade. Ayub Dar, the convicted terrorist and one of the killers, appealed against his conviction, which however, was upheld by the Division Bench of the Supreme Court in Criminal Appeal No 535 of 2009 on July 21, 2010. Before killing Mirwaiz, all the five HM terrorists had gone to Pakistan for terrorist training in 1990. Back in Srinagar, Bangroo received instructions in April 1990 from his ISI handler in Pakistan to eliminate Mirwaiz.”

Paraphrased excerpts from Supreme Court order

"In April 1990, accused Abdullah Bangroo, Javed Ahmed Bhat alias Ajmal Khan and Muhammad Ayub Dar alias Ishfaq, who belongs to Hizbul Mujahideen, entered into a criminal conspiracy to eliminate Mirwaiz Moulvi Farooq. The accused Bangroo, who was then heading Hizbul Mujahideen, instructed Javed Bhat and Ayub Dar to plan the elimination of Mirwaiz Farooq. Javed Bhat was then working as an Area Commander of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen in the downtown area of Srinagar while Javed was working as a Group Commander in that very area. 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 Bhat, Ayub Dar and Shigan visited the residence of Moulvi Farooq at Nigeen, Srinagar and requested financial help from him for their terrorist organisation Hizbul Mujahideen. Moulvi Farooq had agreed to help them and had asked them to meet after 2 to 3 days during the morning hours. Thereafter, the two accused surveyed the area as per their plan and informed the details to Javed Bhat. It was on May 21, 1990, that the three accused Ayub Dar, Shingan and Zahoor Ahmad armed with loaded pistols visited the `Mirwaiz Manzil' at Nigeen. The accused Javed Bhat had instructed the appellant that, out of the three accused persons, Zahoor would fire at Moulvi Farooq and the remaining two accused Ayub Dar and Shingan were to provide cover to Zahoor. As per the plan, they all reached the gate of Mirwaiz Manzil and met Maqbool Shah, the gatekeeper and informed him that they wanted to meet Moulvi Farooq. Shah then asked Gulam Qadir Sofi, the gardener, to take them to the Personal Assistant as he himself was going to the market. Accordingly, the gardener Sofi took the three to the Personal Assistant Saidur Rehman, who asked them about their names and one of them disclosed his fake name as Gulzar Farooq of Batamaloo. The Personal Assistant wrote the name on a slip of paper and sent the slip inside the room of Moulvi Farooq through the gardener Sofi. After some time, Moulvi Farooq called the three accused inside the office on which Zahoor entered the room of Moulvi Farooq and the remaining two accused including Javed Bhat took position in the PA's room. On entering the room of Moulvi Farooq, Zahoor 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 gardener Sofi. The accused Bilal also tried to run away but Sofi caught him. There was a scuffle between the two during which Bilal sustained an injury below his right eye. Later, after firing one round from his pistol, Bilal also managed to escape. The accused persons ran towards Kashmir University, who were followed by Sofi upto the main road and near the KU gate. The assailants ran towards Soura through the university compound and reached Chatargam in the afternoon of May 21, 1990. They then reported the killing of Moulvi Farooq to Abdullah Bangroo. All three accused persons were directed by Bangroo to go underground for some time. During trial 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 Bangroo was Zahoor Bhat who ironically succeeded in evading arrest by going into hiding."

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