SRINAGAR: Even as the police claim that Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP) Mohammad Ayoub Pandith was lynched in the line of duty, the same police department had no idea that the body lying on the roadside in Nowhatta and later in the police control room for several hours was of their own DySP.
The first reports of the lynching of a man outside the Jamia Masjid came at about 11:30pm Thursday night. At that time, nobody, not even the security officials at the Jamia Masjid, knew who he was.
The news of the lynching was reported by people on WhatsApp and other social media. The slain DySP was in civvies when he was beaten to death. The reports circulated on social media said, or rather, speculated, that he was a sleuth of the CID (Crime Investigation Department).
Official sources told Kashmir Reader that senior police officers posted in the north of Srinagar later confirmed to the security men deployed around Jamia that no one among the CID or police was posted at Jamia Masjid, neither in uniform nor in civvies.
Senior journalist Ahmad Ali Fayaz wrote on his Twitter handle, “IGP Kashmir, SSP Srinagar say no policeman on duty (in uniform or civvies) is missing. They say body has been recovered for identification.”
Soon after, some officials identified the body lying on the roadside in Nowhatta as that of a trooper of the paramilitary CRPF. That, too, turned out to be a wrong identification.
When the police arrived at Nowhatta at about 1am, they fired teargas canisters and bullets in air. The people present there made way for the police to pick up the body.
The family members of Pandith said that they called him on his phone in the night but the phone was switched off. In the pre-dawn hours, the police
informed the family that Pandith had been killed.
Director General of Police (DGP) Shesh Paul Vaid told reporters that the DySP had died in the line of duty. The question arises why the personal security guards of the DySP did not inform any officer of his lynching? Or why the police department earlier stated that no officer was posted at Jamia on that night, “neither in uniform nor in civvies”)?
“We are investigating as to what happened that day, and why there was so much miscommunication,” a police official told Kashmir Reader. “An SIT (special investigation team) has been established to know the truth,” he added.
Inspector General of Police Munir Khan could not be contacted on his phone despite several attempts.