Did someone from STF engineer
the attack on Parliament?
Our special correspondent
Milli Gazette Online
New Delhi: It seems strange, yet if we go by the version of Muhammad Afzal, the convict in the Parliament terrorist attack case, some middle-level officers of the Jammu & Kashmir Police were involved in the terrorist attack on the Parliament House in December
2001. According to a handwritten letter to his lawyer Sushil Kumar, Mohammad Afzal Guru, whose wife's mercy petition to save him from the gallows is now pending with President APJ Abdul Kalam, has cited the role of a middle-level officer of the Jammu and Kashmir police in the terrorist attack on the Parliament and how Afzal was repeatedly threatened with elimination of his whole family if he spoke out the truth.
The letter has been published by the Society For The Protection Of Detainees' And Prisoners' Rights (SPDPR). In his statement which is on the records of the Delhi High Court, Afzal named Dravinder Singh, a DSP of Special Task Force (STF), a crack commando force now known as “Special Operation Group” (SOG), as the man who forced him to escort Mohammad, one of the terrorists killed in the Parliament attack, to Delhi and to arrange accommodation for him and buy him a car.
Afzal has claimed that a cursory look at the phone numbers recorded in his cell phone would have revealed the numbers of STF. "Mohammad and I used to get different phone calls from Dravinder Singh.... If phone numbers recorded will be seen carefully, the court would have come to know the phone numbers of STF," said Afzal in his statement. He further asserted that "STF made me a scapegoat in this entire criminal act which was designed and directed by STF and others whom I do not know. Special police is definitely part of this game..."
Guru's petition among two dozen mercy pleas
New Delhi: The clemency plea for Mohammed Afzal Guru, sentenced to death for the 2001 terroris attack on Parliament, is among two dozen such petitions pending with the Union home ministry. There is no time frame for deciding on these petitions, said a home ministry official. It had taken authorities considerable time to decide on a clemency plea for Dhananjoy Chatterjee, the last person to be hanged on August 14, 2004, he pointed out. Chatterjee had filed his mercy petition some years before the government advised the President to not grant clemency to him. Though there is no official data on how many death sentences have been carried out in the post-Independence era, sources put the number at a little over 50, including the execution of the assassins of Mahatma Gandhi and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The clemency petitions pending with the home ministry include those of Murgan, Santhan and Ariva, all sentenced to death in connection with the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. The fourth accused in the case was Nalini, whom then President K R Narayanan had granted a pardon in 2000. The oldest petition pending with the Government is that of four alleged terrorists Gurdev Singh, Satnam Singh, Pyara Singh and Sarabjeet Singh, who killed 17 people in Amritsar and were sentenced to death. Their petition is pending since 1992. End
Afzal described himself as a victim of the stick-and-carrot policy of STF and the Special Cell of Delhi Police in a statement filed by his lawyer Colin Gonsalves before the Delhi High Court but the court ignored his contentions and confirmed his death sentence. He narrates how he was made a scapegoat for the conspiracy hatched by the police officer he names. According to him, he was told "if I will speak according to their wishes, they will not harm my family members” He says that they gave him false assurance that they will make my case “weak” so that after sometime I will be released. Afzal cited that betrayal of the authorities to his wife in Tihar Jail here on 10 October as the reason for losing all faith in the Indian system and that is why he refused to to apply for commutation of his death sentence and stoppage of the hanging ordered on October 20. The hanging is, however, put on hold at present due to his wife's mercy petition.
Afzal says in his statement: "I am living and organic eye-witness to various tortures and custodial killings and I am myself the victim of STF terror and torture. Being a surrendered militant of JKLF, I was constantly harassed, threatened and agonised by various security agencies like Army, BSF and STF.... Under these circumstances and under this fearful environment, persons like me were always ready to play any dirty game at the hands of STF, just for survival."
He claims to have been introduced to Humhama DSP Dravinder Singh, whom he accuses as the police officer who hatched the Parliament attack conspiracy using Altaf Hussain, brother-in-law of Budgam SSP Ashaq Hussain. Afzal describes Altaf as "the broker between my family and DSP Dravinder Singh."
"One day Altaf took me to Dravinder Singh. D. S. told me that I had to do a small job for him, that I have to take one man to Delhi as I was well aware about Delhi and have to manage a rented house for him. Since I was not knowing the man, but I suspected that this man is not Kashmiri as he did not speak in Kashmiri. I was helpless to do what Dravinder told me…I took him to Delhi. One day, he told me that he wants to purchase a car. Thus I went with him to Karol Bagh. He purchased the car. In Delhi, he used to meet different people and both of us, he, Mohammad and I, used to get the different phone calls from Dravinder Singh."
Afzal says one day Mohammad told him that he can return to Kashmir if he wanted and gave him Rs 35,000. This was only after six or eight days of Afzal renting a room at Indra Vihar in Delhi for bringing his family as he was not happy with the torturous life back in Kashmir.
Afzal says that he wanted to return to Delhi with his family after the Eid festival on December 14, 2001 but he was nabbed at Srinagar bus stand while boarding a bus for Sopore and then taken to the STF headquarters and from there brought to Delhi and handed over to the Special Cell of Delhi Police.
Afzal also narrates the drama of his “confession” before the TV cameras of NDTV, Aaj Tak, Zee News, Sahara TV, etc. which was organised by Rajbeer Singh, ACP of Special Cell of Delhi Police.
He claims that he was tortured to implicate Shaukat, his wife Navjot Afshan and Delhi University lecturer S A R Geelani. When he declined to do so, "they told me that I should not say anything about Geelani, about his innocence.” He goes on to state that “When one of the interviewers, Shams Tahir, told me what is the role of Geelani in Parliament attack, I just said that Geelani is innocent. This moment ACP Rajbeer Singh got up from his wheel chair, shouted at me and told me that he had already told me not to speak about Geelani in front of everybody (media persons). Rajbeer Singh's behaviour exposed my helplessness and media personnel at least came to know that what Afzal is saying (was) under threat or duress." He
goes on to say in his letter to his lawyer that "Special Police is definitely part of this game because everytime they forced me to remain silent. I hope my forced silence will be heared and justice will prevail."