Police officer lynched by mob outside Jamia Masjid
2 accused arrested, another on run: Police
He was attacked when he was coming out of mosque after checking access control: DGP
In a tragic incident which has shocked Kashmir, a mob lynched a police officer outside historic Jamia Masjid in downtown Srinagar on Shab-e-Qadr after he was allegedly caught by youth clicking their pictures and fired from pistol injuring three youth.
Sources said the incident occurred at midnight outside Jamia Masjid when some people raising pro-freedom slogans caught hold of 56-year-old DySP Mohammad Ayoub Pandith after he was allegedly caught taking their pictures.
The youth confronted Pandith, who was in civvies, and asked him to display Identity Card, they said.
They said the police officer took out his pistol and fired some rounds, injuring three youth.
The injured youth were rushed to SMHS hospital, where they were treated for bullet injury. They were later detained by the police.
Agitated over the firing of police officer, the mob swelled and overpowered DySP and beat him with sticks, rocks and stones, sources said.
They said the mob stripped the police officer and beat him till he died.
The incident took place when Muslims across Kashmir were observing 'Shab-e-Qadr' (the night of power) involving night- long prayers and supplications in the mosques and shrines.
Police said Pandit, 56, belonged to security wing of police.
A police spokesman said the officer was on access control duty at Jamia Masjid when he was cornered by an unlawful assembly of people and lynched by unruly mob.
The officer was posted in 3rd Security Battalion.
“The policemen posted in the security wing of the police do not wear the uniform as a matter of service regulation,” the spokesman said.
Police have registered a case under section 302 RPC and taken up investigation.
“During course of the investigation, two persons involved in crime have been arrested and some more identified. Efforts are on to nab other persons involved in the attack,” the spokesman said.
The deceased policeman was laid to rest at his native place in Nowpora, Srinagar.
A large number of people including police officers Inspector General of Police Munir Ahmad Khan, DIG Srinagar G.H Bhat, SSP Srinagar Imtiyaz Ismail, SSP Security Shri Maqsood-ul-Zaman, friends and relatives of deceased participated in Pandith’s funeral prayers.
The lynching shocked the Valley and people from different sections of society condemned the incident.
Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Security, Dilbagh Sigh told Rising Kashmir that he (Pandith) was performing duty alongside his team when some people moved out of the mosque and chanted raising anti-national slogans.
“The senior officer was at Jamia Masjid for safety and security of the people. He went to find out what was going on and was captured then by the mob. He was beaten to death without any apparent reason, unfortunately. He tried to save and free himself reportedly by firing a couple of shots, but to no avail,” he said.
Singh said Pandith had confidence in local people that he left his driver and PSO near the mosque in the evening after telling them to observe Shab-e-Qadr and he can walk back home after the duty.
Sources said there were other personnel of security wing of Police and Armed Police deployed inside the mosque compound but they didn’t react immediately to provide backup security cover to Pandith.
“The other police personal of security wing were deployed inside the compound for security purpose. The officer just went out to see what was happening outside,” Singh said.
Asked if armed police was deployed inside the mosque, ADGP said, “It was for police to answer.”
However, reports said other security personal accompanying the DySP at the time of incident, fled from the spot after people suspected them of working for intelligence agencies.
Director General of Police, Shesh Paul Vaid told Rising Kashmir that the incident occurred at Bata Chowk, which is far from where armed policemen and cops of security wing were on duty.
“They (Armed Policemen and cops of security wing) were far away from the spot of incident. They would have reacted had they not been far. They were left unaware of the incident,” he said.
He denied reports that any cop accompanying the officer, fled from the spot.
Quoting preliminary investigation, the police chief said the mob attacked the DSP when he was coming out of the mosque after checking the access control.
"When the DSP was coming out after checking the access control of the mosque, some miscreants caught hold of him while raising slogans and started beating him up," he said
Asked whether the slain officer was there for the security of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the DGP said, "Mirwaiz does come there. It was a sacred occasion yesterday and thousands of people were expected at the mosque and security was made for them."
Defending the firing by the officer in which three persons were injured, Vaid said, "The DSP was carrying a pistol and he had the right to self-defence."