Mehbooba warns against testing police’s patience

Says force shows self­control but there may be backlash if restraint wanes

NEWDELHI: The alleged lynching of a senior Jammu and Kashmir police officer outside a popular mosque in Srinagar stirred strong reactions from politicians across party lines on Friday.

Relatives of slain deputy superintendent of police Mohammed Ayub Pandith mourn at his home in Srinagar on Friday.Describing the incident as “shameful”, chief minister Mehbooba Mufti wondered how long the police force would show restraint as she warned that there could be a backlash if the force loses patience.

“What can be more shameful than this? I want to say that J&K police is one of the best police forces in the country. They are brave but are showing maximum restraint because they feel that they are dealing with their own people. But for how long? The day their patience wanes, then, I believe, things will be difficult,” the chief minister said.

Echoing Mehbooba’s views, deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh termed the killing of deputy superintendent of police Mohammed Ayub Pandith’s “highly condemnable”. “It is murder and police would take strongest action against those who were involved.”

The leader of the opposition National Conference Party, Omar Abdullah, said the manner of the officer’s death was a travesty. “May the people who lynched Dy SP Pandith burn in hell for their sins,” the former J&K chief minister tweeted.

Separatist Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the head of the Hurriyat Conference, also criticised the lynching. “Deeply disturbed & condemn the brutal act at Nowhatta. Mob violence & public lynching is outside the parameters of our values & religion …. We cannot allow state brutality to snatch our humanity & values,” he said.

The alleged lynching comes in the backdrop of mounting tensions in the Valley that has seen violent clashes between police personnel and civilians following several incidents of alleged human rights violations.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said the officer’s killing marked a “new low” in Jammu and Kashmir and it was “heartbreaking” to see the state “being pushed back several decades” due to the failure of the BJP-PDP coalition government.

“Heartbreaking to see Jammu and Kashmir being pushed back several decades because of the complete failure of the PDP-BJP government,” he added.

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