Srinagar: Eyewitnesses of the killing of police officer Mohammad Ayoub Pandith have recounted to Kashmir Reader the sequence of events that led to the cop’s lynching. Those who shared the details requested anonymity, fearing they would be called for investigations or arrested.
A man who saw people beating the officer outside the Jamia mosque said that he was offering Taraweeh prayers when he heard people shouting outside, which disturbed his attention. Soon after the prayers ended, he went out and saw people pushing and punching a man. He heard people saying that a policeman had been caught making a video on his mobile phone. This man who was caught was being asked to show his identity card. People started beating him when his identity was revealed. Then a few shots were fired by the policeman from his pistol, injuring three persons. After that he was beaten further and then dragged to Nowhatta Chowk, from where his dead body was picked up by police after a couple of hours.
“We were praying while we heard the shouting. We went outside to check the situation. We saw a group of people beating a man who was believed to be a cop. He had been making a video of the people at the mosque. As we enquired, we came to know that he was asked for his ID which he had refused to show. After that, the people checked his ID forcibly and saw that he was a policeman. He was then dragged to the staircase at the back of the mosque, where he shot at a few youth. He was beaten further and dragged to Nowhata Chowk”, the man said.
Another eyewitness said that while people were beating the policeman, many people intervened to save him. When he was let go, the policeman threw some money towards the people, which created confusion, and the next moment he took out his pistol and shot 7 bullets, injuring three youths. The shooting by the policeman angered people and they started beating him again, this time joined by many others. When he fell unconscious, he was dragged to Nowhata Chowk and left there. When nobody came to pick him up for more than an hour, he was taken further about 100 meters away from the Nowhatta police station. After another hour, police came to take his body. By that time he was dead.
“When we saw people shouting and we couldn’t figure out what had happened, we rushed to the roof of the nearby shops to see things more clearly. We saw people beating a man and some people intervening to save him. What happened next shocked everyone. The policeman threw some money towards the crowd and the next moment he was firing at the people, which left three youths injured. Then they started beating him again till he was unconscious. He was dragged to Nowhatta Chowk and left there to be picked up. By the time police came to pick him up, he was dead,” the eyewitness said.
People who were at the mosque also raised questions over the presence of the cop in the mosque. A person said that there were many questions to ponder on, such as what was a DySP doing alone without his personal security, why was he making a video of the people in the mosque, and if he was in the mosque to pray then why was he carrying a pistol? Also, why were the police not aware of the presence of a DySP who had supposedly been deployed at the mosque as part of his duty?