Conspiracy to kill Babar Qadri hatched in jail: Police

Conspiracy to kill Babar Qadri hatched in Srinagar Central Jail, reveals J&K police probe

The SIT has arrested two detainees from Central Jail Srinagar after their names surfaced in the murder

 Srinagar Central Jail. Credit: PTI Photo

The conspiracy to kill Kashmiri lawyer and TV panellist Babar Qadri was hatched in Central Jail Srinagar as names of two militants detained in the jail have surfaced during the investigations, the probe carried out by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of J&K police has revealed.

The SIT has arrested two detainees from Central Jail Srinagar after their names surfaced in the murder. They have been identified as Muneer Aziz War alias Qari of Kupwara and Tawseef Ahmed Shah of Srinagar and both were under detention when the killing took place.

Earlier, the SIT had arrested three accused in the killing of Qadri. Identified as Shahid Shafi Mir, Zahid Farooq Khan and Asif Bhat, the trio were residents of Srinagar. While Zahid is a 'chronic' stone-pelter and had been detained under Public Safety Act in August 2019, Tauseef had been jailed previously in a militancy case and Muneer in a murder case.

Sources said that all the three accused have been identified by family members of Qadri and their domestic help and sent to judicial remand to Central Jail, Srinagar till December 26.

“The arrested trio stated that they received directions from two persons for the killing of Qadri who were lodged in Central Jail Srinagar. It was on the basis of their revelations that the SIT arrested Muneer War and Tawseef Shah from the Central Jail. They are being questioned and in the coming days, other accused may be also identified,” they revealed.

Qadri was shot dead at his Hawal residence in old city Srinagar on September 24 by two masked pistol-borne youth, who entered his house posing as clients. The SIT is now investigating how Tauseef and Muneer passed directions to the trio for the killing of Qadri from the Central Jail.

In late 2017, months before Lashkar-e-Toiba commander Naveed Jatt alias Abu Hanzulla’s escaped from police custody, Jammu and Kashmir CID, in a confidential report, had termed Srinagar Central Jail as a hub for recruiting militants with inmates establishing a “parallel administrative setup.”

In a shocking revelation, the CID report had mentioned that the role of the jail is so important that every new militant is only recruited after ‘approval’ from inside the prison. Immediately after Jatt’s escape, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had raided the Jail and recovered over two dozen mobile phones, incriminating documents, a Pakistani flag and jihadi literature.

Later in August 2018, the NIA arrested a deputy jail superintendent and a militant for allegedly hatching conspiracy inside Central Jail, Srinagar to recruit youth into the militancy. Immediately after Jatt’s escape, “higher and high risk” category prisoners were shifted secretly from Srinagar Central Jail to various prisons in the Jammu region including Udhampur, Kotbalwal and Hiranagar.