Police on Sunday said that the ongoing investigations into the lynching of Deputy SP Ayub Pandith in Nowhatta area of Srinagar have resulted in 20 arrests. Inspector General of Police (IGP) Kashmir Muneer Khan also told the media that the investigation is still ongoing into the incident that shocked the country last month. The IGP also added that one of the accused was killed in an encounter on July 12 in Radbugh village of Budgam. The deceased was identified as Sajad Ahmad Gilkar.
On basis of the accounts of the accused, the police had identified several key elements of the case including the circumstances – the accused were raising pro-Zakir Musa slogans and had attacked Pandith after he refused to identify himself outside the mosque on the night of Shab-e-Qadr, the holiest of nights during the Islamic month of Ramadan. The police have also recovered the weapon of offence(iron rod), the damaged service pistol and the identity card of the deceased as well as his cell phone. The service pistol was fired by Pandith in his defence, wounding three people. The police chief was also all praises for the general cooperation he received from the public, with people voluntarily coming forward with eyewitness accounts that helped identify the attackers.
The attack, coming just before the end of Ramadan, had shocked people in the valley and across the country as a policeman was stripped naked in public and beat to death. While it drew condemnation from the government in New Delhi, J & K CM Mehbooba Mufti did not mince words warning that the patience of the police would run thin if incidents like this happened. The police itself on its part had promised a speedy probe that would bring the perpetrators to justice, and the arrest of the 20 people comes almost a month after the incident. The police have stated that more arrests are likely after the accounts of the arrested are verified and probed.