Cop lynched: Two arrested, third identified, says JK Police

Top police officials expressed resolve that the guilty would not spared for the brutal killing of DSP Mohammad Ayub Pandith and said that a Special Investigation Team (SIT) had been formed to probe the case.

DGP S.P. Vaid said that two persons had been arrested and many more attackers identified. While the other policeman fled, Pandith, who lived barely 3 km from the mosque in downtown Srinagar, was overpowered by the crowd even as Shab-e-Qadr prayers were underway in the historic mosque.

Hardline Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani also condemned the authorities for stopping people from offering Friday prayers at Jamia Masjid. "An officer being lynched by the very people he had gone to protect proves we have reached a stage where very little difference is left between humanity and barbarism", Vaid said.

Witnesses said worshippers had spotted the policeman, Muhammad Ayub Pandit at the mosque in plainclothes, taking photographs of people leaving shortly after midnight. The identity of the deceased could not be immediately established as the angry mob went on a rampage targeting empty security pickets erected in the area.

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Except for mosques and shrines in seven police station areas of Srinagar, prayers were held in rest of Kashmir to mark Jummat-ul-Vida with religious fervour and gaiety.

"All of them (involved in the lynching) will face the law", the DGP told reporters on the sidelines of the wreath- laying ceremony for the slain officer at district police lines here. The incident assumes significance as Hurriyat chairman and Valley's head priest the Mirwaiz was inside the mosque and delivering his sermon.

Defending the firing by the officer in which three persons were injured, Vaid said, "The DSP was carrying a pistol and he had the right to self-defence". He said that for the whole year Muslims of the Valley are waiting to offer prayers in Jamia Masjid on this most important last Friday of the holiest month of Ramadan to earn reward and seek forgiveness of their almighty. They exercise maximum restraint. But for how long? "I fear what will happen if this police force loses its patience", the CM said.

"A few people who were standing outside the mosque lynched him".

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