20 arrested in cop lynching case, says IGP

J&K police on Monday said that 20 persons have been arrested in connection with the lynching of deputy superintendent of police Muhammad Ayoub Pandith outside Jamia Masjid in Downtown Srinagar on June 22.

Addressing a press conference here, Kashmir range inspector general of police Muneer Ahmed Khan said the slain officer was on an “access control duty” at Jamia Masjid on the night of Shab-e-Qadr. “The officer while performing his duties was caught by an unruly mob and lynched,” he said. “We have arrested 20 persons who were part of the mob.”

He said the accused were arrested after “much hard work” put in by the Special Investigation Team constituted to probe the incident. The SIT was led by SP north city Peerzada Sajad, and monitored by SSP Srinagar Imtiyaz Ismail and DIG central Kashmir range Ghulam Hassan Bhat.

The Kashmir police chief said on the basis of “disclosures made by the accused”, evidences that include weapon of offence (iron rod), identity card, service pistol in a damaged condition and the mobile phone of the slain officer were recovered.

“Initially, four accused were identified and arrested,” Khan said. “During the course of investigations, it surfaced that a group of assailants saw the officer checking the security personnel deployed for access control duties of the Jamia Masjid. As soon as the officer came out of the premises of the Masjid, they heckled him.”

Khan said within no time, the number of “miscreants” assembled there and started beating the officer, resulting in his lynching. “In self-defence the officer fired some shots from his service pistol below the waistline, causing injuries to three assailants who were in his immediate proximity and were heckling him,” the IGP said. “The mob continued to beat the officer, resulting in his death.”

Asked what led to beating of the officer, the IGP said a group of youth had asked him to show his identity card which he refused and he was beaten up ruthlessly. 

During investigations, Khan said, statements of a number of eyewitnesses have been recorded before the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate under section 164-A Cr PC.

“The post-mortem report has been received. It reveals fatal head injuries, face injuries and injuries to vital organs of the officer, resulting in his death. The weapon of offence recovered corroborates the same,” Khan said.

He said among 20 accused arrested so far, Sajad Ahmed Gilkar alias Saja Bila of Nowhatta, a Laskhar-e-Toiba militant, who was recently killed in a gunfight at Redbug village of Budgam district, was also part of the “mob.”

“Sajad went missing on June 29. He was earlier involved in many cases of stabbing. On the day he went missing, he was supposed to attend a court hearing in a case related to stabbing,” the IGP said.

Asked whether Sajad was the main accused, he said: “I didn’t say he was the main accused, but he was part of the mob. He was a militant without a weapon and involved in series of stabbing cases. He was booked under PSA thrice and had so many cases against him.”

On whether the case has been closed, the IGP said: “Investigations are still on and there are more arrests on cards which will lead to completion of the investigations.”

When asked if there was any dereliction of duty by some policemen who were deployed with the slain officer, the IGP said: “There was no dereliction of duty by any policeman. It was so much of noise there, the officer who died couldn’t inform his superiors.” 

Replying to a query why Ayoub was deployed at Jamia Masjid, the Kashmir police chief said he was there to “secure all the devotees.”

 

‘ARMY HAS APOLOGISED’

The IGP Khan said J&K police are not silent over beating of eight cops by army soldiers at Gund, Ganderbal as director general of police has already registered a strong protest and the Army has ordered a Court of Inquiry. “We are a professional force. We are not silent over the issue. DGP (S P Vaid) took up the issue with the Army top brass including GoC 15 Corps (Lt General J S Sandhu), who has ordered CoI,” Khan said.

 

‘SUBSTANTIAL LEAD’

Khan said police have got a “substantial lead” into the attack on the bus ferrying Amarnath pilgrims and the “Over Ground Workers who provided logistic support to militants, have been identified.”

He claimed the attack on the bus was carried out by Lashkar-e-Toiba militants, including Abu Ismail and two locals.

The IGP said they are probing whether two slain militants identified as Abu Sad and Jibran were involved in the attack that left eight pilgrims dead and more than 19 injured on July 11.

Source : http://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/front-page/20-arrested-in-cop-lynching-case-says-igp/255646.html

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