Hyderabad: Stories of his “ruthless’’ ways of interrogating suspected stone-pelters and terrorists inside dingy rooms across the Kashmir Valley are well-known and police officials of all ranks of the UT police force have tales of their colleague DSP Davinder Singh’s bravado, including one when terrorists opened fire and a bullet pierced his left leg during an operation a few years ago.
But behind his khaki uniform was a man, it turns out, who allegedly threatened dozens of Kashmiri families with “serious consequences’’ after randomly picking up their loved ones and torturing them, on the mere suspicion of their involvement in stone-pelting or links with terrorist groups — and later extorted money for their release.
If whispers in the police are true, Singh would not bother to withdraw his salary for months together, as he was already making lakhs of rupees.
The details of his extortion is tumbling out even as the National Investigation Agency is interrogating Davinder Singh, the DSP who was posted in the anti-hijacking squad at Srinagar airport and was arrested ferrying two wanted Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists in Kulgam recently.
Sources associated with the probe as well as some colleagues told this newspaper that under Singh’s direct supervision, while he was at SOG and positions like DSP, Pulwama, over the years, hundreds of youths were picked up after raids on their houses in different parts of the Valley. Kashmir witnessed cycles of stone-pelting incidents over the past decade, something that was an industry for terror groups. In the aftermath, the J&K police would crack down on stone-pelters and randomly pick up youth, detain them and allegedly torture them for days to ‘’extract’’ the truth.
Singh would reportedly check on the financial status of these families, and is said to have struck deals for releasing persons in his custody. Desperate families would pay anywhere between `30,000 to `70,000, or sometimes even more depending on their status, to get their loved ones released. Some subordinates would also be paid, said sources. “Anyone who pleaded that they would not be able to pay up would be kept them waiting till they finally agreed,” sources said.
Besides releasing innocent persons Singh also allegedly set free some who were actually involved — all for financial consideration.
Davinder, from Tral in Pulwama district — a hotbed of Hizbul Mujahideen — was recruited as sub-inspector in 1994 and soon after was moved to the SOG.