By Javeed Ali
A senior police officer DySP Muhammad Ayub Pandith was lynched to death by an unruly mob just outside the main entrance of Kashmir’s Grand Mosque Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta on Thursday night. The incident happened when the rest of the Muslim world was observing the night of blessings, Laila tul Qadar with religious fervor. The lynching of DySP has added a shocking new dimension to the deteriorating situation in Valley.
There are conflicting reports that are emerging after his death and according to Police, he was on “Access Control Duty” heading a team of police personnel in civvies, who frisked people entering the mosque, a routine security practice at big religious gatherings. “He came out of the mosque in the middle of the night to make a call, some people followed him and asked him questions,” police sources said. “They accused him of being an intelligence agent as he was reportedly clicking pictures and making videos of the worshippers. Pandith told them he was doing his routine duty that didn’t convince the angry mob”. The crowd, the Police said, started hitting him. “They stripped him naked and pushed him down. With his life under threat, Pandith took out his pistol and fired in the air. But when mob refused to budge, he fired at the legs of some of the people. Three were hit,” the police sources said. “But far from running away, the mob stood its ground, now more violent. They brought rocks and threw them at him, some stones hit his head. He lost consciousness and soon died from excessive blood loss. The body was lying there for an hour before it was removed”.
Whatever the circumstances that led to his death, Kashmir lost one more soul due to the conflict which has rendered many as widows and orphans. It is the seventh death of a J&K Police men over the past week. On June 17, six police men including a sub-inspector were killed when militants attacked a Police team in Thajiwara area of Achabal in Anantnag district. Pertinently, killings were witnessed almost every day in Kashmir, be it the killings of militants or those of policemen, alone in the month of Ramadhan almost 42 lives were lost. Deaths in Kashmir are always painful as it worsens the already deteriorating situation in Kashmir which is craving for resolution since last many decades. Everyone here wants final settlement of this dispute which is claiming the lives of Kashmiris everyday. Kashmiris are at crossroads where anyone for their nefarious designs use them as cannon fodder. Political leaders condemn or justify killings in Kashmir based on their requirement and stand. They make the better use of every killing to satisfy their desired ends. It is followed by press statements and counter statements which are circulated to media to keep their business running. But the ultimate sufferer is the common Kashmiri, be it Policemen, militant, civilian or any other Kashmiri.
Crime cannot justify crime and in the same manner killing cannot justify killing. If the murder of the lecturer of Khrew by Army last year is condemnable, in the same way murder of DySP Pandit is to be vehemently condemned. If the death of an ATM guard of Chattabal is to be denounced, in the same breath the assassination of an Army officer of Kulgam should be denounced too. We need to ponder that violence can never bring any resolution to Kashmir imbroglio. Violence has only brought destruction to Kashmir and India and Pakistan are least bothered about it. They need the land of Kashmir, let the Kashmiris perish, they are not worried about it. Our leadership who have failed to deliver so far needs to get their act together and save Kashmir from further bloodshed. Stone pelting and hartal strategy have not yielded any fruitful results so to continue with it means to turn Kashmir further into an extreme calamity. The line between humanity and inhumanity is fast diminishing in Kashmir. Element of dehumanization is slowly creeping in Kashmir society which is an alarming situation. Someone needs to step up and tell those people that Kashmir is the land of saints and it can’t afford brutal acts like the one at Jamia Masjid. Islam doesn’t allow these inhuman acts and must be strongly deplored. In all the unrests between 2008 and 2016, there were countless instances in which the cops and the protesters came to blows at each other. There were efforts to lynch cops and protesters too. But there were many people around who prevented them from doing it.
The question that needs to be answered is why we need to pelt stones on the auspicious occasion of Shab-e-Qadar which comes once in a year for humanity to attain the blessings of Allah Almighty. Why we allow some miscreants to create a situation where people are compelled to say that they need freedom from these miscreants rather than from India. By these barbaric acts, we are getting away from our desired goal as we lose the national and international sympathy which is pouring in from all over the world. Using these inhumane acts, we are presenting ourselves as savages rather than the oppressed ones. Vigilantism and lynching humans send shivers down our spine when we see them on videos or images so how we allowed it to happen in the premises of the holiest place in the holiest night of the year. The culprits who perpetrated this crime should be brought to justice and exemplary punishment should be awarded to them.
The neighbors described the slain DySP Pandit as honest man who is survived by his wife and two teenage children. His daughter is studying MBBS in Bangladesh while his son has been ill after completing higher secondary examinations. He is cousin of a prominent lawyer, Mohammad Abdullah Pandith who is senior member of the High Court Bar Association Kashmir.
Pandith started his career as a sub-inspector in the 1990s. He was working as a DySP in the security wing of Jammu and Kashmir police and had been at the Jamia Masjid for quite some time.
It was a barbaric and ghastly act which was condemned by all. I too was deeply pained when I saw the images of the slain Police officer. I convey my deepest sympathies with the bereaved family and condemn the murder of DySP Pandit with strongest terms.
The writer can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
(This is a personal blog and the views expressed above are the author’s own. Kashmir Patriot neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)