National Security Advisor Ajit Doval had visited Shopian district in South Kashmir on August 7, two days after the Indian government revoked the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution. In a video the government released that day, Doval was seen talking to residents and eating rice. However, one of the residents in the video has now told Huffington Post that he did not know the man he was interacting with was Doval.
“I had never seen him in my life before,” Mohammad Mansoor Magray, 62, said. “I thought maybe he’s the personal secretary of DGP Sahab [Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh]. Had I known it was Doval, I wouldn’t have gone. Even if they had dragged me.”
Magray, a social activist, said he had once protested against the death sentence given to Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. “More recently, I also protested against the challenge to the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Indian Constitution,” he said.
Magray said some police personnel came to him on the afternoon of August 7 and asked him to go to the Shopian police station. The policemen told him that DGP Dilbagh Singh had come to visit the area. Magray said he tried to leave the police station after nobody turned up for for 10-15 minutes. However, the police made him and others present there board an ambulance, and dropped them off near the Srinagar bus stop in Shopian.
The social activist said that he then met Shopian Superintendent of Police Sandeep Chaudhury, DGP Dilbagh Singh and Ajit Doval. Initially, Magray thought Doval was the personal secretary of Singh.
Doval told Magray that Article 370 had gone, and proceeded to inform him about the benefits that would accrue to Jammu and Kashmir following the revocation of special status. “All this while, 5-8 cameramen were present there and they were filming the entire conversation,” Magray added. “The conversation lasted for 10-15 minutes. It was only after I saw DGP and SP standing in an alert position before him that I noticed that he can’t be the personal secretary of DGP.”
After Doval told Magray his identity, the social activist appraised him of his activities. “He shook my hand and also asked me to click a picture with him. I realised it was a trap,” Magray told HuffPost.
Magray said his family was scared when the video went viral. “My son even asked his mother to pack her bags and leave for Srinagar,” he said.
The social activist said that though he was not deceived into meeting Doval, the security establishment projected him in a wrong way. “What complicated the situation was the statement of senior Congress leader and leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad,” Magray said. “He called us ‘paid agents’. That statement has jeopardised my life. I am going to file a defamation suit against him.”