The lynching of DSP Ayoub Pandith by Muslim mob is a shame on Kashmiriyat
Deepak Zazia from Srinagar
On October 7, 2016 when terrorists martyred Altaf Dar popularly known as “Altaf Laptop” at Bandipora in North Kashmir, security agencies could not understand the nefarious designs of Pakistan sponsored terror outfits which had started targeting cops of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) Police who are involved in anti-terror activities.
A series of selective killing of local cops started with the martyrdom of Altaf Dar and latest victim of this campaign is Mohammed Ayoub Pandith, who was brutally killed outside Jamia Masjid of Srinagar on June 23.
Although selective killing of J&K Police personnel had started with the eruption of terrorism in J&K, this process has been intensified during the last three years. Recently J&K Police is in the forefront of anti-terror operations in Kashmir Valley.
When ecounter-insurgency force named as Special Task Force (STF) was formed in 1996 to take on terror group active in the State, police officers from Jammu province volunteered themselves to join this special force. Cops from Kashmir Valley had shown cold-shoulder response to the STF because they had to save their families and relatives.
Since the days of its inception, STF had played very important role in eradicating terrorism from some parts of the Valley and from hilly areas of Jammu province namely Doda, Kishtwar, Poonch and Rajouri. Earlier only STF of J&K Police was involved in anti-militancy operations but during the last some years whole police is participating in anti-terror activities. Even in the Valley, local police officers are coming forward to take on terrorists and this new trend has frustrated mentors of terrorists camping on the other side of the border. Terrorists have been directed by their mentors from across the border to target Kashmiri Police officers to terrorise those who are involved in anti-terror operations.
Altaf Ahmad Dar known as Altaf Laptop was known for his counter-intelligence operations in J&K. He was credited for finishing off Hizbul Mujahideen from the Valley.
Dar had managed to track down the J&K commander of Lashkar-e-Taiba several times. But every time Qasim succeeded in giving the police and paramilitary forces the slip.
And eventually he got the better of Dar, the cop credited with eliminating Hizbul Mujahideen in the Valley. A remarkable career was brought to an end on October 7, 2016.
He traced several top militants, including Hizb’s operations chiefs Gazi Mishabhuddin and Muzaffar Ahmad Dar, the outfit’s spokesman Junaid-ul-Islam and senior commanders Pervez Musharraf and Hanif Khan.
“It is a big loss for us,” the then Inspector General of Police (IGP) Javed Mujtaba Gilani said at that time. “He was one of our best counter-insurgency officers.”
Series of selective killing started with Altaf Laptop and Dy SP Pandith is the latest victim of this killing. On the night of Shab-e-Qadr, the night of seeking the blessings of Allah, Muslim mob took away the life of a fellow Kashmiri police officer who was on duty in Srinagar to ensure that the people who had gathered at the Nowhatta Mosque in downtown area to offer night-long prayers, could do it peacefully. It may be noted that Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was among those present at the Nowhatta Mosque at the time of the lynching. The sacrifice of the six brave hearts of the local police including the affable Station House Officer in Achabal in south Kashmir is still fresh in the national memory.
Pandith was stripped naked and stoned to death by a mob outside the historic Jamia Masjid here in a bizarre 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 (DGP) SP Vaid said terming the incident as “very unfortunate”.
Quoting preliminary investigation, the Police Chief said the mob attacked the Dy SP when he was coming out of the mosque after checking the access control.
Vaid said two persons have been arrested so far and a third has been identified. He said an investigation into the case is on. Asked whether the slain officer was there for the security of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of moderate Hurriyat Conference, the DGP said, “Mirwaiz does come there. It was a sacred occasion yesterday and thousands of people were expected at the mosque and security was made for them.”
The incident took place when Muslims across Kashmir were
observing ‘Shab-e-Qadr’ involving night- long prayers and supplications in the mosques and shrines.
As in Punjab during its militancy, the policemen and their families in the state of J&K are also now being targeted by the terrorists and their sympathisers. The state police are at the forefront of the anti-militant operations. In the last three decades of militancy in the state, the local police have lost more than seven thousand members. Regardless of the setbacks, they have carried on with their fight against militancy. The STF is a highly motivated unit. As per the law, the rest of the forces are deployed in the Valley to help of the Civil Administration. Coming from the same stock, the local police are vital to intelligence gathering and mounting of successful operations.
‘Don’t test patience of Police’
The lynching of a senior J&K Police Officer outside a popular mosque in Srinagar stirred strong reactions from politicians across party lines.