*2 accused held, 3rd identified: DGP
Srinagar, June 23: In a shocking incident, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP), Mohammed Ayub Pandith, was stripped naked and beaten to death by an irate mob in Jamia Masjid Srinagar on the auspicious occasion of Shab-e-Qadar.
There are conflicting reports about the incident and witnesses said that he was beaten to death by an irate mob after he allegedly opened fire at a group of people, who caught him clicking pictures outside Jamia Masjid injuring three persons.
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However, Director General of Police Dr SP Vaid said that Pandith was checking the access control in the area. “When he came out after checking, he was surrounded by some miscreants who started manhandling him and asking for his identification. Initial investigation revealed that there was an altercation and the officer fired to get away from the mob. He was, however, overpowered and killed near Bata Chowk in Nowhatta area,” he said.
Vaid termed the killing as sad and unfortunate. “The official was killed by the mob while he was performing his duties. It’s a very sad and unfortunate incident,” he said.
A police party immediately reached the spot and they fired in air to disperse the mob, and they took the body to Police Control Room for identification and other legal procedures.
The situation in old city turned tense following the incident. The mob went on a rampage targeting empty security pickets erected in the area. Police reinforcement were rushed in to restore normalcy in the area.
Elder brother of Ayub, Farooq Ahmad Pandith said that they got a call from an officer around midnight to check whether Pandith had reached home. “He was not at home and his phone was also switched off. We then received a call from SP, saying he has been seriously wounded and is at the Police Control Room. He was actually dead,” he said.
DGP Vaid said two persons have been arrested in connection with lynching. “Two people have been arrested, third person has been identified. They will have to face the law,” he said.
Vaid said that the investigation is going on in the matter “but initial reports suggest that some miscreants who were shouting slogans caught hold of DySP while he was coming out of the mosque after inspecting access control”.
“They started beating and lynched him,” he said, adding that the officer by firing on mob was his right. “He had a right to self defence,” the DG added.
As the body of the police officer reached his home for last rites, there was anger among the people over the shocking incident of his lynching on Shab-e-Qadar.
“Where have we reached? A person has been killed outside Jamia Masjid on an auspicious night without any reason? Is this, what Islam teaches us? What was his fault?”, asked one of his relatives.
“What did they get out of it? They have not killed one person but three more as his children have been orphaned and wife widowed”, he said.
The neighbors described the DySP as honest man who is survived by his wife and two teenage children. His daughter is studying MBBS in Bangladesh while his son has been ill after completing higher secondary examinations. He is cousin of a prominent lawyer, Mohammad Abdullah Pandith who is senior member of the High Court Bar Association Kashmir.
Pandith started his career as a sub-inspector in the 1990s. He was working as a DySP in the security wing of Jammu and Kashmir police and had been at the Jamia Masjid for quite some time.
In the meantime, for his failure to save the life of the DySP Pandith, DGP tonight attached SP North Sajjad Khaliq Bhat. Sajjad Ahmad Shah, Additional SP Traffic has been given additional charge of the SP North. An order issued tonight reads that Bhat has been ordered to report to Police Headquarters with immediate effect.