SRINAGAR: Further dehumanising the killing of police officer Mohammad Ayoub Pandith, a twisted narrative was created on social media by some Kashmiri Pandits that the officer was killed because of his surname, which Muslims at the mosque mistook for “Pandit”.
“So they mistook him for a Pandit. Surprised to note that Pandit blood still draws attention. But the fact is he very much looked like one; however, unfortunately, didn’t turn out to be – as he was a Mohd. and Ayub too. How does it matter? He was still a Pandit,” wrote a netizen whose Facebook account identified him as a Kashmir-born English writer.
His post further adds, “In present-day Kashmir, both one who kills and one who gets killed is a Pandit – both leapt to a different faith centuries back. The day my brothers back home realize this, peace will prevail – otherwise it won’t. Have you ever seen a Pandit kill someone? “Ever”, I ask?”
Eyewitnesses have said that the police officer was killed after he had an altercation with some youth outside the mosque, who objecting to his clicking pictures from his cell phone inside the mosque and probably mistook him as a spy or “agent”.
Before he was killed, Pandith had taken out his pistol and fired, injuring three youth. It was this act that angered the people who were there. They caught hold of him and beat him to death.
Tarun Upadhyay, a former correspondent with Hindustan Times Jammu, claimed that a relative of the slain cop said that Pandith was killed because his attackers thought he was a Kashmiri Pandit. “Attackers believed he was Kashmiri Pandit as he carried card with the name MA Pandit, says relative of the deceased,” Upadhyay wrote on Facebook.
This viciously communal narrative was countered by many Kashmiris on social media. “Am extremely sorry for this sick friend, a Kashmiri Pandith,” wrote Mir Khurshid on his Facebook timeline after sharing a status posted by a Kashmiri Pandit.
Journalist Hilal Mir wrote on Facebook: “Some baboons are circulating a canard, and also believing it, that the deceased DSP was killed because he had ‘Pandit’ in his name and those who killed him believed he was a Kashmiri Pandit. I guess more Kashmiri Muslims have ‘Pandit’ surname than Kashmiri Hindus and most such Muslims hail from old Srinagar areas.”
“There are two big Muslim ‘Pandit’ clans in my old locality Nawab Bazar and another ‘Pandit’ family is my neighbour in Bemina,” he added.