Srinagar: A probe conducted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has revealed that the vehicle of former Jammu and Kashmir MLA Aijaz Ahmad Mir was allegedly used to carry out the attack on Amarnath pilgrims in July 2017, which left seven dead and nearly 20 injured.
The attack took place near Batengu area of south Kashmir’s Anantnag on Srinagar-Jammu highway when a bus ferrying the pilgrims was fired upon indiscriminately by militants.
Deputy Superintendent of police (NIA) Ravinder has written a letter to Jammu and Kashmir Police’s Additional Director General (police headquarters) stating that Mir has a “soft corner towards separatists” and one of his vehicles was used in “attack” on Amarnath pilgrims.
The investigation agency has sought “crime record” and “integrity report” of the former legislator.
Mir was MLA from Wachi constituency of south Kashmir’s Shopian district.
Days after the attack, police arrested Mir’s driver, Touseef Ahmad Wani, who was deputed with him by J&K Police’s security wing. At the time of his arrest, police had alleged that he was “linked” to militants.
On September 28 last year, a special police officer (SPO), Adil Bashir, posted as personal security officer (PSO) with the same ex-legislator, fled with seven rifles of his colleagues and personal pistol of Mir from the government-provided accommodation in the high-security zone of government quarters in Jawahir Nagar area of Srinagar.
Mir said he was in Jammu when the incident took place.
Adil soon joined militants and shared pictures on social media. Before joining police ranks, Adil was a political worker of the PDP and had also participated in Mir’s election campaign. Presently, he is an active militant.
The incident put the security establishment on alert in Kashmir and immediate security reviews were made. All the SPOs, except drivers, were removed as PSOs of protected persons in the state.
The former legislator had landed in controversy last year as well, after he allegedly termed the militants being killed in Kashmir as ‘martyrs’. The remark was condemned by the BJP, which also called for an inquiry.
The former MLA has said he is open to investigation.
“Let the NIA investigate. I am open to face it and will cooperate with them,” Mir told News18.
When informed that he has been termed as “soft separatist”, Mir retorted that his family was forced to migrate in 1994 because his father fought elections.
“Our family has been fighting elections since then and we had to face difficult times because of that. If the agency has to do the investigation, they can do freely, but the remarks, like calling me ‘soft separatist’ and all that, weakens our belief on such agencies and investigations,” Mir told News18.
In November last year, when Mir was an MLA, the PDP alleged that the NIA was being used to pressurise him into joining the BJP.
News18 tried to reach the NIA spokesperson for comments, but he didn’t respond despite repeated requests.
Jammu and Kashmir Police also denied comment on the matter.
However, an officer said on the condition of anonymity that an investigation is on to probe the said charges.
“We have been receiving clues and information that Mir has been doing pro-militancy activities. We are yet to find any substantial proof,” he said.