A man who was arrested by the Jammu and Kashmir Police in Pulwama district on Monday for being in possession of a narcotic substance died in police custody on Tuesday after developing “severe health complications”, the Kashmir Dot Com reported quoting an unidentified senior police officer.

The family of the deceased, identified as Imtiyaz Ahmad Palla, has alleged that he was killed by the police. They claimed that Palla was seriously injured during interrogation and that he had been in good health before his arrest, the news website reported.

According to the police’s first information report filed on Monday, security checkposts had been set up in Pulwama’s Grawgund village based on an intelligence input about “narcotic smugglers working for terrorists” in the area.

The report said that Palla attempted to flee upon encountering a checkpost and that he was arrested after police officials chased him down.

“Upon his search heroin-like substance was recovered from his trouser pocket,” the first information said. On initial questioning, Palla allegedly told the police that he was on his way to meet some “foreign terrorists” who were active in Pulwama district.

Palla was booked for “selling/transporting narcotic drugs” and contravention under sections of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.

On Tuesday, Palla was taken to a hospital after his health deteriorated. He was being detained at the Litter Police Station, Kashmir Dot Com reported citing an unidentified senior police officer.

Palla was reportedly declared dead by the hospital doctors.

The police official said that an investigation into the conditions of Palla’s death has been launched.

“We are committed to uncovering the truth,” the news website quoted the official as saying. “All necessary actions will be taken based on the findings of the investigation.”

Palla’s family has said they do not believe the police’s version of events. “Imtiaz was healthy when he was taken,” Palla’s cousin brother told the website. “We suspect foul play and demand a transparent investigation.”

Peoples Democratic Party leader and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti also sought an investigation into Palla’s death on Wednesday.

“Imtiaz Ahmed an accused in a Narcotics case from Pulwama has died in police custody while another is battling for his life at Base Hospital in Badami Bagh,” Mufti said in a post on X. “Imtiaz’s family claims he suffered grievous injuries during interrogation.”

Palla’s arrest and subsequent death came a day after the police claimed that security forces had killed two militants in a gunfight in Pulwama district, on Monday.

While the police did not officially name those who were killed, unidentified persons told The Indian Express that their names were Riyaz Ahmad Dar and Rayees Ahmad. Both were residents of Pulwama’s Kakapora village and were allegedly associated with the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

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