Covert action has remained and will continue to remain a controversial instrument of state policy for India & Pakistan in Kashmir. Translated into execution, it allows both Countries to adopt the smoke screen of plausible deniability, wherein the action itself may be visible and verifiable but its links are concealed, so that it can easily deny any involvement. Covert actions in India falls within the domain of the intelligence community generally (though not often) without the consent and knowledge of political leadership as against USA and other western countries where it has to be mandated by political leadership. Dr. Guroo became victim of one such covert operation.

Dr. Guroo’s ,only fault was that  besides being a cardio vascular thoracic surgeon of national & international repute, he  was a human rights activist to the core. Since the onset of armed insurgency in the state in early 1989, he   rendered yeoman’s  service to those at the receiving end of the security forces whether as a Doctor or a human rights activist. He would bring instances of  grave human rights violations  in Kashmir to the notice of Various international forums .In fact a testimony by James Baker before the United Nations Security Council  in 1991 was based  entirely on evidences & supporting documents provided by Dr. Guroo.

On Ist April 1993 he was abducted by few gun totting boys near Soura  while on way back home from his Hospital. The next day his dead body was found in the vicinity of the  area wherefrom he was abducted. The State Govt. was quick to blame Hizub-ul-Mujahideen  for the gory murder.

The identity  of  the actual murderer  would have  remained  a close secret but for a chilling revelation made by Wajahat  Habibullah, former Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir & Chief Information Commissioner of India in his book. “My Kashmir Conflict and the Prospects of Enduring Peace”(page 81-82) which is reproduced hereunder:

“Guru, a leading Srinagar Physician, who had founded a Medical College, had commanded wide respect; he presented a reasonable face of separatism. He was therefore, an inconvenience to the Police. The Police made an arrangement with the terrorist Zulkarnain, then in custody, who agreed to kill Guru in exchange for his release. But to ensure that this collusion remained secret, Zulkarnain was killed shortly thereafter and the Director General of Police, B.S.Bedi, trumpeted his death as a triumph for the security forces, who had killed a dangerous terrorist in an armed encounter. But the truth was somewhat different. Instead of killing Zulkarnain in an armed encounter, the police stormed the home where, under the mistaken presumption that he was safe after having fulfilled his end of the bargain, he was consorting with a lady friend.”

It needs to be stated here that a few days before his murder, Chandan Mitra, MP & Journalist wrote an article In a national daily  in which he Presented Dr. Guroo  as a doubtful character being handled and used  by both ISI & RAW, the premium intelligence agencies of Pakistan & India. This  article  was in fact  a precursor to Dr. Guroo’s actual  killing through a covert operation

India professes itself to be a democracy, the strong edifice of which is “rule of law”“ .It is, therefore in the interest of preserving that democracy  to order arrest of guilty security official(s) and try them under law of the land. It is a misconception that such types of actions will demoralize police or security forces. Rather non-action would infuse a culture of impunity among them and instead of becoming valuable security assets, they will turn into unavoidable  liabilities.

(Hazaroon  Sal Nargis apni beynoori pe rotey hein-Badi Mushkil say hota hein Chaman mein deedawar Paida)  
(The author is a practicing chartered Accountant. Feed back at amzargar1@indiatimes.com)