Even as Kashmir remains on the edge, another gruesome incident amidst celebrations of Ramzan has shown how volatile several areas of Kashmir Valley, including Srinagar, are.
During night long celebrations at the Jamia Masjid in Srinagar for Shab-e-Qadr, Deputy Superintendent of Police Mohammed Ayub Pandith was lynched to death by an irate mob.
ADGP Security, Jammu and Kashmir, Dilbagh Singh told HuffPost India that Pandith was on duty outside the mosque along with his team last night.
Singh said, "As per report, suddenly some people moved out of the mosque, raising anti national slogans. He went to find out as to what was going on ,where he was captured and beaten up by the mob, without any apparent reason."
"He tried to save and free himself reportedly firing a couple of shots ,but to no avail. He was lynched to death by the people whom he was supposed to be providing security under mob and anti-national frenzy," Singh said.
The Times of India reports that he was reportedly taking photos of people coming out of the Jamia Masjid and people tried to stop him from doing that.
Other reports say that while the altercation began it was first only a few people and it soon swelled into a mob.
"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.
Pandith was in plain clothes. PTI reports that as a matter of service regulation, police officers of the Jammu and Kashmir Police don't wear uniforms.
The PTI report also said his security guards ran away when they realised that they won't be able to control the situation.
Director general of police SP Vaid told the Hindustan Times, "When he came out after checking access control in the area, 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."
The incident assumes significance because separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was inside the mosque and was also supposed to address a gathering.
News18 quoted a police official as saying, "He was deployed for duty at the mosque where people were to offer prayers and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was to deliver an address."
Reports say that the officers body was taken to the police control room for legal procedures and identification.
ADGP security Jammu and Kashmir told HuffPost India that Pandith, who was a resident of Nowpara, "was a highly qualified and professional police officer who always kept duty before himself. He owned and accomplished his assignments dutifully."
Singh said that the officer "was one of the very decent and dedicated ones loved and respected by his friends and colleagues".
Pandith was an M. Com and an LLB and had joined the police force in 1990. He had served as an SHO for a long time. He became deputy superintendent of police and was posted in the 3rd battalion for security duties.
Pandith is survived by his wife, a 28-year-old son and a 22-year-old daughter. She is pursuing her MBBS in Bangladesh, but was in Kashmir for celebrating Eid with her family.
Reports said that curfew like situation have been imposed across the city after the incident.
The Hindu reported that Friday prayers, the last Friday of Ramzan, won't be allowed in the Jamia mosque.
DGP Vaid said in a statement:
Pandith was laid to rest in the presence of Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who condemned the incident.
Separatist leader Farooq also condemned the incident. He said:
Former Chief Minister of the state Omar Abdullah to called the incident tragic.
Also on HuffPost India