Blackburn hostage Paul Wells ‘was shot and buried’

Blackburn hostage Paul Wells ‘was shot and buried’

ANGUISH Paul was killed six months after his capture. while on a trekking expedition in Kashmir in 1995

ANGUISH Bob and Dianne Wells and daughter Sarah

First published in Blackburn Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Assistant news editor

CONTROVERSIAL revelations about the kidnapping and murder of a Blackburn student have been revealed in a new book.

Paul Wells, from Feniscowles, was snatched by Kashmiri separatist group Al Faran while on a mountain trekking trip in Kashmir in July 1995.

The Lancashire Telegraph covered the story extensively at the time, including regular interviews with his parents Bob and Dianne Wells, then of Bracken Close, who believed their son was murdered six months after his capture.

A body which was believed to be Paul's was discovered in a Kashmiri cemetery two years after his capture but DNA tests proved it was not his and the whereabouts of his body remained a mystery.

Now a new book, entitled The Meadow: Kashmir 1995 – Where the Terror Began, by investigative journalists Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark, claims Paul and three other hostages were shot and buried by 'Indian-backed' militants near the twin villages of Mati Gawran on December 24, 1995.

A source, who worked alongside the police’s Special Task Force (STF) in Kashmir, told the authors: “We led them into the trees, a good, hard walk behind the lower village. "I remember that the snow was heavy and deep. And there they were shot.

“I did not do it, but I saw it with my own eyes.

“Afterwards, village men were forced at gunpoint to dig a hole down through the frozen earth in which to bury the bodies.”

The book claims that a pro-government renegade, Alpha, or Azad Nabi, who had an alias Ghulam Nabi Mir, had 'bought' the four hostages from Al Faran and held them for months before shooting them.

According to a crime branch detective, the Indian government had not wanted the hostage crisis to end.

He said: “For Alpha, who had become unimpeachable, and a few rogue officers in the STF, who by now were behaving like gangsters, and for a hardline clique of agents in Indian intelligence and the Army, all of whom had come to operate outside the norms and with absolutely no oversight, there had been no virtue in ending the hostage-taking at all.

“This was the harshest version of the Game that anyone could imagine.

“All the time New Delhi said it was trying to crack Al Faran, a group within the intelligence, and the STF was letting them dangle, happy to let the militants portray themselves as savage criminals.”

Comments (2)

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7:06pm Wed 4 Apr 12

Wetwangman says...

What a sad story this is, and I hope that the LT had the decency to inform the family the family that this piece would be in the paper today. I did not know this lad, but I feel that something has gone from the world reading this piece. I remember, back all those years ago that the LT, everyday for a matter of months was carrying a picture of him ...saying how many number of days he was missing. This is so, so sad. It is sad for anyone who has ever gone travelling beyond, Benidorm, Majorca and Orlando. I would hope that these journalists, instead of trying to sell their book, would actually do something to bring the culprits to justice. Had this poor lad come back, he would be proudly showing off his pictures to his kids, by now. So sad.
What a sad story this is, and I hope that the LT had the decency to inform the family the family that this piece would be in the paper today. I did not know this lad, but I feel that something has gone from the world reading this piece. I remember, back all those years ago that the LT, everyday for a matter of months was carrying a picture of him ...saying how many number of days he was missing. This is so, so sad. It is sad for anyone who has ever gone travelling beyond, Benidorm, Majorca and Orlando. I would hope that these journalists, instead of trying to sell their book, would actually do something to bring the culprits to justice. Had this poor lad come back, he would be proudly showing off his pictures to his kids, by now. So sad. Wetwangman
  • Score: 1

9:47am Thu 5 Apr 12

melmac81 says...

Such a sad story, i remember covering this story for our Blackburn College newspaper and all the students at the time desperately hoped that he would be found. Such a sad waste of life. RIP Paul Wells
Such a sad story, i remember covering this story for our Blackburn College newspaper and all the students at the time desperately hoped that he would be found. Such a sad waste of life. RIP Paul Wells melmac81
  • Score: 2

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