Indian Policeman Stoned to Death by Muslim Mob in Kashmir

Mohammed Ayub Pandith's relatives mourn his killing. Image credit: Tauseef Mustafa/AFP
Tauseef Mustafa/AFP

An Indian policeman was stripped naked, beaten, and stoned by a Muslim mob outside the main mosque in the city of Srinagar, drawing widespread condemnation.

Local reports say the officer, Deputy Superintendent (DSP) Mohammad Ayub Pandith, who was not in uniform, was confronted by a group of worshipers after being seen taking photos on his cellphone. He then panicked and drew out his gun, firing at the group and injuring three people, which led to the incident.

“The DSP was posted at the access control of the mosque to prevent miscreants from vitiating the atmosphere so that people could offer prayers in peace. But a few among those, for the security of whom he had been deployed there, lynched him,” Director General of Police SP Vaid told reporters.

“When the DSP was coming out after checking the access control of the mosque, some miscreants caught hold of him while raising slogans and started beating him up,” he said:

After the policeman was killed, the mob continued to attack other security personnel until further reinforcements arrived.

Mehbooba Mufti Sayeed, chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, responded to the incident by praising security forces and describing the incident as “shameful.”

“Our police force is bravest across the country. They exercise maximum restraint as they know they are dealing with their own people,” she said.

The incident took place in the Muslim-majority region of Srinagar, Kashmir, in the northern Indian subcontinent, where armed militias have fought against Indian rule since 1989, thus raising tensions with security services.

Last year, suspected anti-government militants murdered two soldiers and one police officer in an ambush on a motorway army convoy, before fleeing the scene. Indian forces later vowed to “retaliate” against militants over the incident. In May, the chief of India’s army then defended one of his subordinates who used a civilian as a human shield by tying him to a vehicle, to allegedly deter violent protests from anti-Indian militants.

According to the Times of India, this month’s Ramadan has been one of the bloodiest in the region’s history, with at least 42 people, including nine policemen, killed in the regional conflict.

Kashmir police chief Sheshpal Ved confirmed that two people have been arrested over the incident, and another will be arrested soon. “The people involved in this dastardly act will face the law,” he said.

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