On June 16, a day after unknown gunmen murdered sixth man in Sopore, police put up black and white posters of two men—Abdul Qayoom Najar and Imtiyaz Ahmad Kandoo—and announced a bounty of Rs 10 lakh for each of them. Police claimed that Kandoo and Najar are the militants responsible for the killings taking place in the town.
Five days later, in a strange twist, a shopkeeper in Kupwara accused the state police of using his picture in a public notice about a wanted militant.
The businessman, Irfan Ahmad Shah, approached the police with photographs of himself, which he claims were used in the posters showing him the wanted militant, Abdul Qayoom Najar.
Shah reportedly said that his photograph had been “lifted” from a photo taken by him at a tourist park in neighbouring Baramulla last year.
“I was surprised to see my picture, which I had taken with my nephew during a picnic last year, on a police poster,” reports quoted Shah as saying. “I am really scared.”
“There is a similarity in Qayoom’s sketch and Irfan’s photo,” Deputy Inspector General (north Kashmir) Gareeb Das was quoted as saying. “I have asked the head of SIT probing the Sopore killings to verify the facts.” Shah alleged that police had cropped his image and used it in the wanted posters.