‘His arms, legs were bent’: J-K govt bought, destroyed video of cop’s lynching
Mohammed Ayub Pandith’s lynching had been recorded by a civilian who has been an informant of several agencies operating in Kashmir.
The lynching of Jammu and Kashmir deputy superintendent of police, Mohammed Ayub Pandith, was captured on a video which was so violent that the state government bought and destroyed it for fear of public repercussions, a top state official told HT.
The 57-year-old officer’s body was found outside Srinagar’s main mosque where thousands of people had gathered for night-long congregational prayers on Islam’s holiest night of Shab-e-Qadr on June 23.
“He was stripped naked and violently pummelled. His arms and legs were bent and broken just as someone breaks a sugarcane before eating it,’’ said the top official who saw the video of Pandith’s lynching.
The official, who saw the video, said they had to work overtime to source and destroy the video for a “financial consideration”. The lynching, he revealed, had been recorded by a civilian who has been an informant of several agencies operating in the Valley.
The top official spoke to HT on condition of anonymity because of both the sensitivity of his office and the subject.
HT also accessed details of the post-mortem report that testified to a high degree of violence against Pandith.
“Fatal head injuries resulting in vital organ damage, resulting in his death,’’ it said.
Pandith’s death, which sent shockwaves through Kashmir, was more violent than initially believed. According to the post mortem report, the police officer had “multiple fatal injuries on head, multiple contusions, abrasions near the shoulder and haematoma”.
The police have asked the hospital to ascertain if “sharp and blunt weapons” were used by those who attacked Pandith.
The police will also obtain the statements of three civilians who received injuries after Pandith allegedly opened fire in self-defence.
Pandith’s identity could be established only after a few hours of his body being found. “Several organisations, including the intelligence bureau and the paramilitary forces were asked if any of their members was missing,” an official with knowledge of the investigation said.
“It is time for Kashmiri people to introspect on how they as a society have stooped to such level of violence and that too on a day of forgiveness. The killing of Pandith is akin to the killing of humanity. All those involved will face the law,’’ Director General of Police SP Vaid told HT.
The state police have been under increasing attack from militants, especially after the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani a year ago. But Pandith’s death stands out for violence perpetrated by civilian worshippers at a mosque.
The separatist Hurriyat Conference, which has never issued a statement condemning the killing of policemen, was forced to criticise Pandith’s brutal lynching.