SMHS Hospital attack: DIG SP Pani replaces Muneer Khan as Kashmir IGP two days after Naveed Jaat's escape

In the wake of Tuesday's attack on Srinagar Hospital in which a Lashkar-e-Taiba militant escaped from police custody, there has been a major reshuffle in the senior ranks of Jammu and Kashmir Police, several media reports said.

File image of Munir Khan. News 18

File image of Munir Khan. News 18

Swayam Prakash Pani has been appointed as Kashmir range Inspector General of Police, replacing Muneer Khan. Pani was earlier the Deputy Inspector General (DIG), South Kashmir range.

Pani, 41, is the youngest officer to hold the post, according to a Jammu and Kashmir government order.

Khan, who was named Additional Director General of Police (Security), the government order said. Khan was promoted as the ADG last month and was awaiting a posting.

Pani's name was cleared in a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, it said. Pani is a 2000 batch IPS officer and brings with him a range of expertise of serving in the Intelligence Bureau and National Investigation Agency.

During his tenure as DIG, south Kashmir, many militant commanders were killed in encounters, officials said.

All operations that Pani headed were meticulously planned, they said.

While focusing on anti-militancy operations, Pani also relentlessly worked to bring misguided youths to the
mainstream and succeeded in seven such cases. Pani also ensured securing arrests of militants from
encounter sites. As many as four militants were arrested from encounter sites during his tenure as DIG.

He was appointed SSP Kulgam in 2001 when militancy was at its peak.

The vacancy created by Pani's elevation will be filled by Amit Kumar, who has been appointed as the new DIG South Kashmir. Vidhi Kumar Birdi, DIG North Kashmir has now been made DIG Srinagar and he will be replaced by Sunil Gupta, according to CNN-News18.

Meanwhile, according to Jammu and Kashmir Home Ministry circular dated 7 February, the Superintendent of Central Jail in Srinagar Hilal Ahmad Rather was suspended and was replaced by Mukesh Kumar Kakar following the attack on the Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) hospital complex which left two policemen dead and led to a terrorist, Naveed Jaat alias Abu Hanzula, escaping from custody on 6 February.

The attack, which was orchestrated in broad daylight was a pre-planned conspiracy and the possibility of an insider's hand has not been ruled out, even though the official sources have not made any comments in this regard. The meticulousness with which the plan was executed indicated that Naveed was aware of the plans and that the militants too had prior information of his movements.

On the morning of 6 February, Naveed along with five other prisoners were brought to the SMHS hospital for a medical checkup, when militants opened fire on them and escaped along with Naveed. A Special Investigation Team was formed and on Thursday, the police, in a major breakthrough, arrested four of the five people involved in the conspiracy. Shakil Ahmed Butt and Tika Khan, residents of Kakpora, Pulwama were arrested along with Syed Tajamul and Mohammadd Shafi Wani, who are suspected overground workers of LeT. One militant named Hilal, who is from Pulwama, remains at large along with the escaped prisoner, Naveed.

Updated Date: Feb 08, 2018 20:42 PM

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