The State Investigation Agency (SIA), Kashmir, has formally charged 12 individuals in connection with the murder of Sanjay Sharma, a Kashmiri Pandit ATM guard, on February 26, 2023. The accused are believed to be part of a broader conspiracy, with indications of involvement from across the border. The charge-sheet, filed before the Special Designated Court under the NIA (National Investigation Agency) Act at Pulwama, outlines the details of the case.
The accused include Pakistan-resident Khalid Kamran, along with individuals from Shopian, Anantnag, and Kulgam districts. Notably, three individuals—Jazim Farooq Wani, Danish Ahmad Thokar, and Ubaid Ahmad Paddar—have been killed in encounters with security forces, while two, Zaffar Hussain Bhat alias Khursheed Kashmiri and Khalid Kamran, are currently absconding. Yasir Shabir Wani's role is still under investigation.
The official statement emphasizes that the accused aimed to disrupt peace and communal harmony in the valley by using the murder of an innocent minority community member to fuel communal disharmony and sustain terrorism.
The SIA Kashmir, responsible for the specialized investigation, conducted extensive searches across South Kashmir, unearthing crucial physical and technical evidence. The evidence pointed towards the accused's involvement in the crime, including logistical support, harboring, and concealing evidence. During the investigation, multiple searches at 32 locations across the valley yielded significant items such as mobile devices, incriminating documents, bank documents, a pistol magazine, and live cartridges.
The investigation revealed that the accused received instructions from terror handlers across the border and maintained communication through encrypted online messaging platforms. Jazim Farooq Wani, identified as the trigger-puller, had received weapon handling training from Nassir Farooq Shah under the directives of the Pakistani handler Khalid Kamran.
While eight out of the 13 accused, including three juveniles, are currently in judicial custody, the SIA Kashmir is committed to ensuring that all those involved in the crime are brought to justice. The investigation will continue to uncover further details and prosecute anyone found to be part of the conspiracy.
(With Agency Inputs)