A deputy superintendent of Jammu and Kashmir police was lynched to death by a violent mob on Thursday evening when people were observing Shab-e-Qadr — a night-long congregational prayers at the mosque — outside the Jamia Masjid in old city of Srinagar, when a group of youths found "few people suspiciously" moving outside the premises of the mosque in Nowhatta area of Srinagar.
Nowhatta is the epicenter of anti-India protests and clashes which erupted in Srinagar's downtown area after Friday prayers. In a similar incident a few years ago, a shopkeeper was recently beaten to death in the same area for defying a shut down.
The police, who were in civil clothes, according to eyewitnesses, were confronted by an irate mob as they "failed to explain their presence" near the mosque premises. Policemen posted in the security wing of the Kashmir Police do not wear uniform as a matter of service regulation. This led to an argument between the police and the crowd. While one policeman fled the spot, another was captured by the group.
"The man got his pistol out and opened fire injuring three people. He was overpowered by the mob, undressed, and beaten to death," a resident of Nowhatta area told Firstpost.
The Jammu and Kashmir police said deputy superintendent of police Mohammad Ayub Pandith, a resident of Khanyar Nowpara area of Srinagar, four kilometers from the place of the incident, was posted on security duty outside the mosque, when he was attacked. His service revolver was taken away from him.
A group of young men confronted Pandith outside the main gate of the mosque and when he was surrounded by the irate mob, he happened to fire his pistol and injured three people. "He was on duty that is what I can say at this time," Manoj Pandita, s spokesperson of Kashmir police, told Firstpost.
Sources said the slain policeman was posted on special duty near Jamia Masjid when the incident happened. Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, who is also the head priest of Kashmir, was leading the Friday prayers at the mosque.
Jammu and Kashmir police in a tweet said:
Another officer sacrificed his life in line of duty DySP Mohammed Ayub Pandith of Security beaten to death by mob at #Nowhatta last night.
— J&K Police (@JmuKmrPolice) June 23, 2017
According to eyewitnesses, one youth received a bullet in leg and another in his stomach which infuriated the youth and they captured Pandith. The injured were rushed to SMHS hospital. The mob beat Pandith to death. However, it was not immediately clear whether Pandith was inside the mosque premises or on main Nowhatta Chowk.
The news of his death came to light after Pandith's family members were unable to reach him and the Jammu and Kashmir police sent additional reinforcements to Jamia Masjid. Reportedly, along with police firing teargas was fired as well.
Updated Date: Jun 23, 2017 11:33:59 IST