Two days ago, Sana came home from Bangladesh where she is studying to be a doctor. She wanted to be with her family on Eid. All of Thursday night, she waited for her father because he was to return home after duty for sehri, the pre-dawn meal. This morning, her brother Danish identified a body lying at the police control room as that of their father.
A pall of gloom descended on Nowpora where Deputy SP Mohammad Ayub Pandit lived with his family. Neighbours remembered the humble police officer whose nikaah ceremony was solemnised many years ago by Maulvi Farooq, the then Mirwaiz of Kashmir who was later assassinated, and succeeded by son Maulvi Umar Farooq.
After wreaths were placed at the police control room, the body of the 52-year-old officer was taken home, barely a kilometre from the Jamia Masjid where he was lynched. The family was inconsolable. His sister said: “Our brother was killed for no fault of his. He was most humble, he had never harmed anyone.’’ Also read: J-K police officer lynched in Srinagar, body dumped in drain. Click here.
The family learnt of his death when Danish and his uncle Mohammad Abdullah, a leading lawyer, identified the body at the police control room. “The body of my uncle was in bad shape. I heard about the incident at night and even saw photographs of the person who had been lynched. I didn’t realise it was my uncle,’’ one of Pandit’s nephews said.
“My uncle joined the police in 1988 as a sub-inspector and mostly served in the Crime Branch. He always disliked the posting since he had to arrest people or do something wrong.’’ He was posted to the security wing last year.
Another nephew said Pandit received a call at 8.30 pm on Thursday, asking him to report for duty. “He left home at 9.30 pm and everybody waited for him for sehri. Sometime in the night, police called and inquired whether he had returned home. Later, police said he had been injured and was at the police control room.”
Angry relatives wanted to know why was the officer told to report for duty in his own locality where he could be easily identified by trouble-makers. “Why was he alone? This question should be asked,” said one of the relatives. Pandit was laid to rest at the family’s ancestral graveyard where over a thousand people turned up.