SPO who decamped with AK-47 rifles was ex-stone pelter

24-year-old SPO Adil Bashir, who hails from Zainpora area of south Kashmir’s Shopian district, was charged with the crime of stone-throwing in 2014. His name was part of the FIR (27/2014) that was challenged to court. (Image courtesy Twitter)

The special police officer (SPO), who decamped with seven AK-47 rifles and a pistol from the official residence of a PDP legislator in Srinagar on Friday, was a stone-pelter before joining the police force in 2017.

Adil Bashir (24), who hails from Zainpora area of south Kashmir’s Shopian district, was charged with stone-throwing in 2014.

His name was part of the FIR (27/2014) that was challenged in the court.

“As Bashir and the legislator Aijaz Mir hailed from the same area, he was recruited as a SPO on the recommendations of Mir in Shopian district and later transferred to Srinagar. But police failed to check the antecedents of Bashir before recruiting and posting him at such a sensitive place,” sources said.

However, they said, Bashir was not allotted a service weapon though he was part of the MLA's security. The preliminary investigations have found ‘multiple’ security breaches in the embarrassing incident at the MLA’s official residence.

A few weeks ago, police issued a security advisory urging the legislator not to allow the police guards to go on a leave without depositing their weapons at the nearest police station.

Despite the advisory, all the nine security guards had proceeded on unauthorised leave and kept their weapons in a trunk at the guardroom at the MLA’s official residence after he left for Jammu.

Vidhi Kumar Birdi, Deputy Inspector General Police Central Kashmir, said that for police the MLA was in Kashmir “as he did not convey to us about his trip outside the state, as protocol mandates.”'

“Also, the police guards did not inform their seniors about it (their going on leave). The police guards are being questioned and it has been found they were not at the spot when the weapons were taken away,” he said.

A senior police officer on the condition of anonymity said that the incident has not only rattled the police higher-ups but has also put the department in an embarrassing situation.

“If the SPO was a former stone pelter and was also in loop with militants, why police intelligence failed to detect it? Antecedents of the policemen deployed as guards to politicians and influential persons are checked by the police’s intelligence wing. But in this case it was not done,” he said.

Meanwhile, Adil’s father, Bashir Ahmad Sheikh, has been reportedly taken into custody for questioning from his Zainpora residence.

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