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Kashmir: People lynch police officer, strong reaction from political circles

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Srinagar (23 June 2017): Days after six policemen including Station House Officer (SHO) were killed by militants in south Kashmir’s Achabal, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Mohammed Ayub Pandith was lynched to death by a mob at the historic Jama Masjid in the old city here during the intervening night of June 22-23. Two arrests have been made in this connection.

The deceased DSP, who was on security duty in the area, was allegedly clicking pictures of people emerging from the Jama Masjid when a mob attacked him. The incident took place as people were busy observing night-long prayers, Shab-e-Qadr. Authorities had already announced restrictions in the areas falling under seven police stations of the city as a precautionary measure. The restrictions were announced to maintain law and order as separatists had called for protests after Friday prayers (June 23) against killing of a civilian during protests in south Kashmir’s Kakapora in Pulwama district on June 22.

Media reports said that an officer, in civvies, had gone outto see what happened when some people moved out of the grand mosque raising slogans as Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was expected to arrive at the mosque. Reports added that it was at this point of time that a group of people confronted him, suspecting him to be an intelligence guy. As the mob caught hold of him, Ayoub fired a few shots from his service revolver to save himself and three people sustained injuries that infuriated the mob and they stripped him before stoning him to death.

Police claimed to have arrested two people and identified another allegedly involved in the killing.

The killing has been widely condemned. Mirwaiz wrote on micro-blogging site Twitter (June 23), “Deeply disturbed & condemn the brutal act at Nowhatta. Mob violence & public lynching is outside the parameters of our values & religion...”

National Conference Working President Omar Abdullah, while condemning the killing, has demanded that the culprits should be brought to book without any delay and should be given the sternest possible punishment. Omar also announced a donation of Rs 10 lakh to the Police Welfare Fund on behalf of his party and announced a donation of one-month’s salary as MLA to the fund as a contribution to support families of such policemen. Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad (June 23) termed the act to be against both Islam and humanity.“If the mob was suspicious about the identity of that person, they should have informed the police instead of taking law in their hands.”

The state Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti (June 23) warned the people not to test the patience of the security forces who use restraint in dealing with locals.

Eight policemen and an Army soldier, apart from six civilians and 27 militants, have been killed here during the month of June so far. This includes lynching of DSP; killing of six policemen including SHO in Achabal on June 20, killing of Lt Umer Fayaz in south Kashmir’s Shopian on May 10, killing of five policemen along with two bank guards in south Kashmir’s Kulgam on May 28.

Meanwhile, the Army has shortlisted 258 militants (130 local and 128 foreign) from various outfits under “Operation All-Out” that has already been launched in parts of the Valley. 

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