Lynch mob kills police officer outside Srinagar's Jamia Masjid

Condemning the murder of a police officer in the state, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Friday denounced the lynching of a senior police officer here and said the crime was a "murder of trust".

A police officer was stoned to death Friday morning by an irate mob in Srinagar that believed he had shot at a group of people who caught him taking photographs outside Jamia Masjid.

Deputy Superintendent Mohammed Ayub Pandith was posted on security duty outside the mosque, when he was attacked, the police said.

News agency IANS quoted informed sources as saying: "The officer was on frisking duty at the Jamia Masjid".

"The man got his pistol out and opened fire injuring three people". Three people were injured in the firing. "DySP Mohammed Ayub Pandith of Security attacked and beaten to death by a mob at Nowhatta last night", a police statement read.

Police sources said the incident took place at around 3 in the night when thousands of devotees had thronged the mosque in old city's Nowhatta locality to participate in Shab-e-Qadr prayers, a sacred night when the Holy Qur'an was revealed to the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

Director General of J&K Police, SP Vaid, termed the incident as "sad and tragic". "He was overpowered by the mob, undressed, and beaten to death", a resident of Nowhatta area told Firstpost.

Pandit belonged to Nowpora area and had been at the mosque post for quite some time. The police said none of its personnel in civvies was present at the spot and "all policemen were safe".

The restrictions, which would come into force at dawn, were announced to maintain law and order as separatists had called for protests after Friday prayers against killing of a civilian during protests in Kakapora area of Pulwama District on Thursday.

The police official said such was the condition of the body that Ayoub's son fainted after seeing the mutilated corpse, the official added. Police reinforcements were rushed to the area and the authorities announced restrictions on people's movement in seven police station areas of the city.

  • Leroy Wright