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Kashmir: Police officer lynched to death outside Srinagar's Jamia Masjid

Deputy Superintendent of Police Mohammad Ayoub Pandith was beaten to death outside Srinagar's Jamia Masjid. Photograph: (PTI)

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Jun 23, 2017, 04.53 AM (IST)

A police officer of the Jammu and Kashmir Police was lynched to death by an angry mob outside Srinagar's Jamia Masjid on Thursday night.  

The officer, identified as the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Mohammed Ayub Pandith, was apparently attacked because he had allegedly been taking pictures of people coming out of the mosque. He was reportedly in plainclothes. 

Reports said when the mob tried to catch the officer, he shot at them with a pistol. Three people are injured. 

The officer's service revolver is reportedly missing. 

The attack occurred while a separatist leader was speaking inside the mosque amid tight security on Laylat al Qadr, one of the holiest nights of the Muslim holy month of Ramzan, Reuters reported.

Witnesses said worshippers confronted Mohammed Ayub Pandith as he took pictures with his mobile phone outside the Jamia (Grand) Mosque in Srinagar during the festival of Lailat-ul-Qadr, when Muslims hold late-night prayers.

He drew out his pistol and fired, injuring three, as his colleague fled the scene, they said.

"Some youths at that point immediately pounced on him, snatched his weapon and more people came and started beating him up," a witness told AFP, declining to give his name.

Some reports said the officer was stripped naked and then beaten to death. 

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Chief minister Mehbooba Mufti meanwhile told the people of Kashmir not to test the patience of the police.

"Nothing can be more shameful than to kill someone who works for the welfare of the people. The Jammu and Kashmir Police are showing maximum restraint as they are dealing with their own people, but for how long? Someday when they will lose their patience, then it would become very difficult for the people," Mufti said after attending Pandith's wreath-laying ceremony.

She added, "Our police is one of the best police force in the country, showing maximum restraint because they feel they're dealing with their own people." 

J&K DGP SP Vaid said two of the people involved in the attack have been arrested, and a third person identified.

"They will have to face the law," he said. 

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