SRINAGAR: The lynching of 57-year-old police officer, Muhammad Ayoub Pandith, by a mob in downtown Srinagar, summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, on Friday has evoked strong condemnation with Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti warning people not to test the patience of police.
“The J&K Police is one of the best forces in country and is exercising utmost restraint because they believe that they are dealing with their own people,” Mehbooba told reporters on sidelines of wreath laying ceremony of Pandith, who was lynched by a mob outside historic Jamia Masjid in downtown Srinagar last evening.
She warned people not to test patience of police.
“God forbid, if this is the result of their restraint it's going to be very difficult. For how long can this go on. Earlier six policemen including an SHO were killed in Achabal and now the lynching of DySP took place. I want to ask people, if this goes on, things may well go back to how they were, when people would run just upon seeing a police jeep on the road," Mehbooba.
Terming the lynching of police officer as murder of trust, she said, “DySP had allowed his guards to go home for Shab-e-Qadr, one of the holiest nights of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, as it was his own area. The incident is actually a murder of trust and a shameful act as well”.
Governor N N Vohra also condemned the gruesome killing of Pandith.
He spoke to DGP S P Vaid and conveyed his sympathy to the family of the slain officer and to all ranks of the J&K Police.
He also expressed grave concern over continuing attacks on J&K police personnel.
Opposition National Conference working president and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah termed the lynching of police officer as dastardly and barbaric.
He demanded that culprits should be brought to book without any delay and be given the sternest possible punishment.
“His death is a tragedy and the manner of his death a travesty. May the people, who lynched DySP burn in hell for their sins,” he said.
Omar said such heinous elements are the enemies of Kashmiriyat and humanity and should be given the sternest possible sentence as per the law of the land. “We are all duty-bound to stand with the family of the martyred police officer and also the police Department in this hour of mourning and grief”.
He announced a donation of Rs 10 lakhs to the Police Welfare Fund on behalf of NC. He also announced a donation of one-month’s salary as MLA to the fund as a contribution to support families of such brave martyrs.
Ruling BJP also condemned the lynching of the police officer.
BJP spokesman, Khalid Jehangir, said lynching of police officer is heart rendering. “He was killed by the same people whom he protected.”
He said the government should reconsider the decision of providing Z- security to Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, whom the slain DySP was guarding.
Moderate separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq termed the lynching incident as most unfortunate.
“I am deeply disturbed by this brutal act. Mob violence and public lynching is outside the parameters of our values and religion,” he said.
Mirwaiz said the violence that the state has wreaked on people is largely responsible for this kind of brutalization, as the police was being used against the people in the most brutal ways which leads to brutal reactions.
“It is very important and imperative for us that we do not allow our social fabric to be brutalised and keep our basic values intact. We cannot allow state brutality to which we are subject to each day as we see the bullet ridden bodies of our children and youth. What will be the difference between them and us? Such incidents are detrimental for our movement and our just freedom struggle,” he added.
Mirwaiz said as usual most “Indian propaganda media mill” has found grist in this sad death to further its propaganda against the separatist leadership and the movement by resorting to distorting facts and false accusations, which is pathetic.
J&K Pradesh Congress committee also strongly condemned the lynching of DySP.
“Whatever happened in Jamia Masjid area is inhuman and cannot be tolerated,” a spokesman of Congress said.
He said the party condemns innocent killings. “Killing, in any form, of innocent persons are highly condemnable and unacceptable.”
The spokesman said people should not take law in hands. “Rather they should make efforts to restore peace and normalcy as killing of any innocent person will be treated as a move aimed at vitiating the atmosphere of peace and tranquility in the State”.
CPI (M) State Secretary and MLA Muhammad Yousuf Tarigami Friday termed the incident as ‘terrible and criminal’.
“It deserves condemnation from all quarters. I appeal people to raise voice their voice over this heinous crime. Cruelty in any form is unacceptable,” he said.
Independent MLA Hakim Mohammad Yasin termed lynching of police officer as “inhuman and un-Islamic”.
“Such incidents are highly condemnable,” he said.
Former Minister Ghulam Hassan Mir termed the lynching of DySP as “unfortunate and inhuman”.
“On one side, people were seeking forgiveness and blessing from Allah while on the other side, people lynched a senior police officer. It is condemnable,” he said adding culprits should be punished.