Mehbooba says it is murder of trust: J-K police officer lynched in Srinagar, body dumped in drain

As outrage mounted and the incident drew all-round condemnation, police began a hunt for the assailants. Director General of Police S P Vaid said two persons had been arrested and a third identified.

Written by Mir Ehsan | Srinagar | Updated: June 24, 2017 4:21 am
Nowhatta mob lynching, kasmir, kashmir lynching, police lynching, kashmir police lynching, kashmir unrest, stone pelting, indian express news, india news Deputy Superintendent Mohammed Ayub Pandith was lynched by a mob outside Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta area of Jammu and Kashmir’s capital Srinagar.

A Deputy Superintendent of Jammu and Kashmir Police was stripped and brutally assaulted before one from a mob killed him with a rod on the premises of the Jamia Masjid in Srinagar around midnight Thursday where the faithful had gathered for Shab-e-Qadr (Night of Power).

Mohammad Ayub Pandit’s body was then dragged out of the premises and dumped in a drain. He was identified by his son and cousin around 7 am Friday. He lived in Nowpora, barely a kilometre from the Jamia Masjid. The mob pounced on him after some people there identified him as a police officer.

As outrage mounted and the incident drew all-round condemnation, police began a hunt for the assailants. Director General of Police S P Vaid said two persons had been arrested and a third identified. Read: Two days ago, daughter returned home from Bangladesh for Eid. Click here.

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who attended a wreath-laying ceremony for the slain Dy SP, said there could not have been a more “shameful incident” on Shab-e-Qadr than the killing of an officer posted there for the security of people.

“There is no bigger, shameful incident than this. And more importantly, this Dy SP thought that this is his own area. On this auspicious day, he had told security guards to go home and perform night-long prayers. There could be no bigger murder of trust than this,” she said.

“They (police) are extremely brave and courageous. They are exercising extreme restraint considering the fact that they are dealing with their own people… The day their tolerance wanes, I think it will become extremely difficult. How long will this continue? Some days before, a Station House Officer and his five men were killed. He had not gone there out of his own will. He was there to protect lives of people,” she said.

Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who turned up at the Jamia Masjid some 20 minutes after the incident, called it a “brutal act… inhuman”. He said he was not present in the mosque at the time of the incident. “I reached the mosque at 12.15 am while the incident happened before that.”

“Jamia Masjid has always been a centre of spiritual and moral upliftment. This is most unfortunate. I am deeply disturbed by this brutal act. Mob violence and public lynching is outside the parameters of our values and religion,” he said.

The Mirwaiz blamed “the violence that the state has wreaked on us” as “largely responsible for this kind of brutalisation”.

“It is very important and imperative for us that we do not allow our social fabric to be brutalised and keep our basic values intact. We cannot allow state brutality to which we are subject each day… snatch our humanity and values. What will be the difference between them and us Such incidents are detrimental for our movement,” he said.

National Conference leader and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah took to Twitter to condemn the killing: “His death is a tragedy & the manner of his death a travesty. May the people who lynched Dy SP Pandith burn in hell for their sins. He was a Dy SP in the Security Wing of J&K Police & I understand he was there on security duty for access control at Jamia Masjid.”

People present at the Jamia Masjid at the time of the incident said it was around midnight that Pandit, who was in plain clothes, was identified by some people near the entrance of Jamia Masjid and they began beating him.

“The masked youth who were beating the officer were shouting that he is a police officer, that they (police) are killing our youth, so they need to be taught a lesson. He was dragged inside the compound of the Jamia Masjid,’’ an eyewitness said, adding that the crowd had stripped him.

“Inside the compound, where he was being beaten, the officer tried to run away. He took out his pistol and fired a few shots which injured two persons. Some young men overpowered him and pushed him to the ground. Then someone pierced his body with an iron rod,” the eyewitness said.

“He died in the compound. Later, his body was dragged out and pushed into a drain at Nowhatta.’’ Another eyewitness said some people tried to save the officer but they were pushed away by the assailants. “Once the officer fired from his pistol, the mob ire increased.”

DGP Vaid said the Dy SP was on duty to protect people in the mosque and “prevent subversive elements from disturbing the situation”.

“But among them, there were some people who lynched him. This is an unfortunate incident. There is hardly any difference between humanity and barbarity.”

“As per initial information, the officer, after examining access control inside the mosque, was coming out when some subversive elements, who were raising slogans, caught hold of him and started beating him. The officer was lynched.”

Vaid said thousands of people come to the mosque to offer prayers on the auspicious day. Securitymen are deployed there to protect the people. “We have arrested two persons and identified a third. Every person involved in the lynching of the police officer will have to face the law,” he said.

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  1. T
    Jun 24, 2017 at 7:29 pm
    it is fabricated... they were three men photographing the .. people who were outside the mosque ..for some rest... nd on ... asking to dy.sp of the youth ..the other two strarted to run who ..were along dy.sp n got succeeded.. n the third one cant make it nd got hold of hands of thepeople nd he opened his pistol not gun.. n shooted some of the people resulted in major injuries... nd the mob went angry...nd . piereced his body... at this stage wat is ur choice being honest n noble
    1. H
      Jun 24, 2017 at 5:39 pm
      nice kashmiris ,,, you re showing true colours ,,, so this is what independence means in kashmir ??? A muslim police officer was lynched near a mosque what would they have done to a hindu or a christian or a sikh ,,, and that hurriyat leader is a lying piece of ,,he would have ordered them to kill all those police officer ,,,
      1. L
        Jun 24, 2017 at 3:11 pm
        Instead of goat, mosques in J K have human sacrifice and that too after the prayers of holy month of Ramadan. May be they will justify it in the name of religion, though there is every doubt whether this is as per their holy book or the teachings of Prophet. It is pure cruel and violent struggle for power for some elements hidden behind the scene and pulling the strings. The in-charge of the mosque is also responsible for this as he should have tried to stop the murder within mosque premises and given asylum to the officer. May be all those who parti ted expect and invite such cruel and crude murder of a fellow human being and deserve similar treatment. People in J K have failed as human beings and behave like old uncivilized world. At least, friends who studied with me and still continue as friends have never shown any difference even today.
        1. R
          Jun 24, 2017 at 12:29 pm
          People are dying and center is playing the role of a DON if you listen to the words of Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh who say that we will curb violence in Kashmir by using more violence against the Kashmiri Muslims (These are not the exact words they uttered but this is certainly the gist of what they are saying). Whenever a human life is lost the whole humanity takes a hit. What happened to the police officer is unexceptionable and hurtful. Our prayers are with the family of deceased. But the killings that are going on in Kashmir are only going on because it is the Muslims that are being killed. This would never happen to the Hindus because the Hindu government will not allow it to happen.
          1. Damodar Biswal
            Jun 24, 2017 at 12:14 pm
            All concerned including those shameless persons who were pleading for a dialogue with the separatists, should condemn this ghostly act.The Mirwaiz should be made responsible for his presence in the mosque during the incident n appropriate action be taken against him.Finally, the CM has miserably failed in her duty.She should be sacked n Governor's rule imposed.
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