India policeman lynched in Kashmir

Indian paramilitary troopers stand guard outside Jamia Masjid during a curfew and strike called following the killing of a Kashmiri student in downtown Srinagar on June 9, 2017 Image copyright AFP
Image caption The incident took place outside the main mosque in Srinagar city

Authorities in Indian-administered Kashmir say a policeman has been lynched outside the main mosque in Srinagar, the summer capital .

Muhammad Ayub had been deployed in plain clothes outside the Jamia Masjid mosque during the Friday prayers, police told BBC Urdu's Riyaz Masroor.

Locals allege that the officer had fired his gun into a crowd after getting into a brawl with some youths.

Police say they have arrested two people in connection with the incident.

Kashmir police chief Sheshpal Ved said another suspect would be arrested soon. "The people involved in this dastardly act will face the law," he told reporters.

Prominent separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was speaking at the centuries-old mosque in old Srinagar's Nowhatta area when the incident took place.

"The police officer had a brawl with a group of boys and he fired his silencer-fitted pistol, injuring two boys. The crowd pounced on him and lynched him," Muneer, a local resident, told BBC Urdu.

The lynching, perhaps the first of its kind in Kashmir, has caused outrage, says our correspondent.

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said, "Our police force is bravest across the country. They exercise maximum restraint as they know they are dealing with their own people."

Kashmir's 130,000-strong police force has already been under strain after militants stepped up attacks on its men and officers.

There has been an armed revolt in the Muslim-majority region against rule by India since 1989.

The disputed region is claimed by both India and Pakistan in its entirety. India blames Pakistan for fuelling the unrest, a claim denied by Islamabad.

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