Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Police on Saturday formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the lynching of an officer outside Jamia Masjid in Srinagar and said it has arrested five of the 12 persons identified in connection with the crime.

“An SIT headed by an officer of the rank of superintendent of police has been formed for speedy investigation of the lynching incident in which deputy superintendent of police Mohammad Ayub Pandith was killed on the night of 22 June," a police official said. He said the investigation was heading in the right direction as more arrests had been made in connection with the killing.

Pandith was stripped and lynched by a mob outside the historic Jamia Masjid in Srinagar’s Nowhatta area, triggering outrage across Kashmir and drawing all-round condemnation. “We have identified 12 persons in connection with the case and five of them have been arrested so far," director general of police S.P. Vaid told PTI. While two persons were arrested Friday, three more have been picked up since.

“Two of the arrested persons are those who were injured in the firing at the time of lynching," Vaid added. He said police has resolved not to spare the people behind the act. “It is the resolve of Jammu and Kashmir Police that we are not going to spare these rascals," he said, adding that investigation into the case was underway and everything would be clear once the report comes. “Let the investigation be completed. Only then can we say what happened," he added.

Asked whether moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was present in the Jamia Masjid when the incident took place, Vaid said, “It is a matter of investigation."

Vaid has also ordered the transfer of a senior officer from the area where a mob lynched Pandith. The order late Friday said SP (North Srinagar) Sajad Khaliq Bhat been transferred and asked to report to the J&K Police headquarters. Nowhatta, where the lynching took place, falls under the jurisdiction of the North Srinagar SP. Sajad Ahmad Shah, the additional SP (Traffic City), Srinagar, will look after the duties of the SP (North Srinagar), the order read.