Soldier With Grenades At Airport Gets Bail, ‘Major Sahib’ To Face Questions

SRINAGAR, April 4: An army officer named by the soldier found carrying two grenades in his baggage at Jammu and Kashmir’s Srinagar airport will be questioned by the police on Tuesday. The soldier, Bhupal Mukhiya, was arrested yesterday after security personnel spotted the grenades during a routine baggage check before boarding a chartered flight to Delhi.

Bhupal Mukhiya told the police that the packet containing the grenades and four bullets was given to him by one “Major Sahib”. The soldier was allegedly told that the consignment would be picked up from him at the railway station in Delhi where he was to take a train home.

The soldier has been released on bail till Thursday by a magistrate in Kashmir’s Budgam district, where the Srinagar airport is located. Bhupal Mukhiya is posted with 17 JAK Rifles which is based in Uri near the Line of Control.

The police said the officer named by the jawan was expected to return to Srinagar later during the day and would be questioned.

“We have been informed by the Commanding Officer of 17 JAK Rifles that the Major is out of station and he will cooperate with the investigations once he reaches Srinagar,” said a senior police officer.
Sources say the grenades and ammunition were concealed inside the cardboard packing of a whiskey bottle. Initially, army had told police that these are “drill items” but subsequently issued a statement that action will be taken against the individuals concerned. “As per due process of law, the Army will take action against the individual,” an army spokesman said.

The police said a thorough investigation is underway and whosoever is involved will be brought to book.

“An FIR has been registered. Whether it’s army jawan, police or any civilian, action will be taken against him,” said SP Vaid, Director General of J&K Police.

One of the most-heavily guarded airports in the country, the first security check at the Srinagar airport is conducted hundreds of metres away from the terminal building at a special check-post set up for the purpose. On Tuesday, another jawan was caught with a live bullet by security personnel deployed at the airport. But in this case, the police believe the soldier carried the bullets “inadvertently”.

The state has been on the high alert after series of attack in Srinagar city. In last three days, three major attacks were carried out on army, police and CRPF. Two security forces personnel were killed and 18 others injured in these attacks.