A special investigation team has been formed to probe the lynching of Jammu and Kashmir police officer Mohammad Ayub Pandith on Friday, ANI reported. The Jammu and Kashmir Police had, earlier in the day, picked up three more accused, bringing the number of people arrested in the case to five. Director General of Police (DGP) SP Vaid ordered the transfer of Superintendent of Police (North Srinagar) Sajad Khaliq Bhat, PTI reported.
The lynching, which took place in Nowhatta, was under the SP’s jurisdiction. Additional SP (traffic) Sajad Khaliq Bhat will replace him, the statement said. Sajad Khaliq Bhat has been ordered to report to the state police headquarters.
The police had said the mob attacked the Deputy Superintendent of Police (Security) after spotting him behaving suspiciously outside Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta locality during congregational prayers at the mosque, NDTV reported. “People should understand the difference between good and bad,” Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police SP Vaid had said. “They killed someone who was on duty to protect them.”
Witnesses to the violence had said three people were injured after Pandith allegedly began to shoot at them with his pistol as the mob tried to catch him. They are believed to have stripped him naked before beating and stoning him to death.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had condemned the incident as “extremely shameful”. She warned the public against testing the “force’s patience”. “The police force is our own force, they are our children,” she said.
The DSP’s service revolver is missing, and since he was not in uniform when he died, he was identified only hours later when his family called his mobile phone. Responding to reports that Pandith was killed after he opened fire, the police had said he had the right to fire in self defence.
The violence came ahead of a call for protests from Kashmiri separatist leaders against a civilian’s death in clashes in Pulwama on Thursday. Local residents had clashed with security forces after three suspected Lashkar-e-Taiba militants were killed in an encounter.
Meanwhile, local media reports said that 62 persons including civilians, militants, and armed forces personnel were killed in the first 26 days of the holy month of Ramzan.