Major CID Lapses: 2016-2020
Scores of Kashmiri Men Hoodwinked The State, Were Handed Over Valid Papers To Travel To Pakistan. They All Joined Jihadi Camps. How Did This Happen?
Over the last three decades, a major component of Pakistan-sponsored cross-border terrorism has been the movement of indoctrinated Kashmiri youth across the LOC to incubation camps in POK. These youths are provided training in jihadi camps and pushed back into India for terrorism. In the last few years, India has made intensive efforts to ensure that Pakistan-sponsored cross-border terrorism is stemmed. The state has invested heavily in high capability intelligence gathering and surveillance competence. The vigil by the security forces is rigorous and exhaustive. While strong checks remain in place on ground zero, appalling dereliction of duty by other arms of the state has seriously compromised national security.
Emerging evidence from Kashmir has jolted the top brass of the Indian security agencies. The role of hostile and treacherous individuals on positions of authority has severely impacted India’s efforts to contain terrorism.
On account of the overt and covert lapses of these individuals, the internal security of the Indian state has been seriously jeopardized. Consider this. Checking the exfiltration of indoctrinated Kashmiri youth to jihadi camps in Pakistan is a high-priority area for India. It now comes to light that scores of these brainwashed men were allowed to travel to Pakistan on valid passport and travel documents. After reaching Pakistan, these men were taken straight to jihadi incubation camps. They were given training in handling ammunition and explosives, and also in the smuggling of drugs, fake currency and other illegal activities. Thereafter, through diverse infiltration routes, they were pushed back into India.
The Modus Operandi
Men with jihadi ideas and intention go to Pakistan on an Indian passport. The youth have a green profile – they have no previous record of involvement in terror activities. Innocuous reasons are stated to justify their travel – meeting relatives, going for professional courses like MBBS etc. The underlying purpose of their travel is to join and deepen terror networks in India. Their travel to Pakistan is authorized and approved by the Indian state. The youth have to apply for visa at the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi. What happens there? The youth who have the recommendation from Kashmir’s separatist leaders are granted the visa. This has been happening since early 90s.
The stupidity of the state has been astounding. It was left to the separatist camps to decide who should travel to Pakistan.
From the 90s to 2012, there were some checks and balances in place. The CID wing of J&K Police would thoroughly verify the credentials of the people applying for passport. Here too, separatist leaders and former terrorists-turned-politicians would get their passport easily. The checks and balances were in place for commoners only. 2012 onwards, the verification by the CID Department got compromised. Coming to 2016, the CID Department started recommending issuance of passport randomly. Youth related to separatists or militants were freely given passports. It is shocking that by the same time, Pakistan started incentivizing this particular section of youth who wanted to go there supposedly for professional studies. A good number of these youth went to jihadi camps instead of joining any professional college. Whether in jihadi camps or in colleges, by the time these youth came back they were severely indoctrinated.
Till now, around 45 men in the age group of 20-35 have been identified who went to Pakistan on valid travel documents and joined terrorist groups there. To know how the Indian state was sabotaged from within, rewind to 2016.
The State Facilitated Passage to Pakistan
The trend started from 2016 when Mehbooba Mufti took over as the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir. It is the task of the Crime Investigation Department (CID) to cross-check the antecedents of each individual who applies for a passport and give approval after thorough checking. Madam Mufti wanted a pliable CID in the state. The top brass of the investigation agency complied. From here started the menace of issuing passports to the relatives of the militants of Kashmiri origin living in Pakistan. According to reliable sources, about 80,000 passports were issued from 2016 to the last quarter of 2020.
Jihadi-Minded Kashmiri Youth go to Pakistan on Valid Travel Documents
It was during this period that severely indoctrinated Kashmiris who wanted to go for arms training to terrorist training camps in Pakistan were authorized to travel on valid travel documents.
Investigations by the security agencies have identified about 45 men aged from 20 to 35 who crossed over to Pakistan on the Indian passport and straightaway joined the jihadi camps of different terrorist groups. The first such case was traced in 2017. The latest entry to the list was added in the last quarter of 2020. Top security officers admit that this is only the tip of the iceberg. The actual numbers may be much higher than what is being stated officially.
A Documented Case Surfaces
On July 24, 2021, one such Kashmiri terrorist who had gone to Pakistan on the Indian passport was killed in an encounter in Bandipora district. It is to the credit of JK Police that from the time when the input of his movement was first received to the encounter finally, the operation was carried out in a highly professional, organized manner. On July 2, SSP Bandipora Mohd Zaid Malik, KPS, shared the input with the higher authorities of JK Police that a group of four terrorists had infiltrated through the Machchil sector. Earlier, Malik had arrested an over-ground worker (OGW) from Bandipora. Upon interrogation, the man revealed to Bandipora police that a group of four dreaded terrorists was planning to infiltrate into Kashmir from the Machhil sector. The group included one Shariq Ahmed of Galan, Bandipora. Shariq had gone to Pakistan on the Indian passport.
A trap was laid through a police source and the group was guided towards Bandipora. The cordon to trap the terrorists was finally laid on July 23. The next day, the encounter took place in Shokbaba forest in Sumblar area of Bandipora in north Kashmir. Shariq was killed in the encounter. Shokbaba Forests are notorious as a terrorist hideout. The area is known to have been used for infiltration purposes.
Pakistan’s Evil Strategy, India’s Gullibility
Pakistan’s malignant jihadi camps focused on bleeding India must invite international opprobrium. For the Indian state, the culpability of the collaborators within is of equal concern. It is a matter of alarm that India’s security has been so severely compromised by some individuals in top constitutional positions of the state.
In the last few years, the strategy of the terrorist organizations has been to recruit and train Kashmiri in Pakistan’s jihadi camps after facilitating their travel through legal channels.
The security of the state has been severely compromised. The state is being blatantly hoodwinked. Who is responsible for this lapse?
About 80,000 passports issued in Kashmir from 2016 to the last quarter of 2020 – why was the profile of the applicants not checked thoroughly? It is the responsibility of J&K CID to give the green signal for issuance of passport to an applicant. On whose recommendations were the passports issued? How were herds allowed to cross the international border? This terror module warrants a thorough investigation by a credible organization like the National Investigation Agency (NIA). Sending the youth to Pakistan on valid travel documents and their joining jihadi camps could be one of the biggest frauds in recent times.
CID Kashmir Admits Serious Security Lapses, Issues Firm Directions To Hold Terror Actors Accountable
On July 31, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Special Branch Kashmir (SBK) issued a circular. The high priority document brings into sharp focus the dereliction of duty and security lapses by CIB SB Kashmir earlier. The circular issued by Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) states: All the field units of CID SB Kashmir are hereby directed to ensure that during verification related to passport, service and any other verification related to Government services/schemes, the subject’s involvement in law and order, stone pelting cases and other crimes prejudicial to the security of the state be specifically looked into and the same must be corroborated from local police station records. Also, digital evidence like CCTV footage, photographs, videos and audio clips, quadcopter images available in the records of the police, security forces and security agencies be also referred. Any subject found involved in any such cases must be denied the security clearance. The circular has been sent to Additional Superintendent of Police (SP), All Deputy Superintendents of Police and all DIs of CID SBK.
Kashmir’s veteran journalist and political analyst Ahmed Ali Fayyaz tweeted the circular with a succinct tweet. Wrote Fayyaz: 32 years later, J&K’s Government learns and admits that CID verification/security clearance have been issued to those who in police records were involved in crimes “prejudicial to the security of the state.” Fayyaz added that henceforth, no government jobs, passports or licences would be possible for those found guilty of such offences. He wisely cautioned that the government must ensure that no innocent person suffers.