A 28-year-old school teacher died in police custody in Srinagar on Monday night, three days after he was arrested in connection with a terror case investigation. The man, identified as Rizwan Pandit, was a resident of Awantipora in Pulwama district, the Jammu and Kashmir police said.
A magisterial inquiry and a police investigation have been initiated into his death, police said..
Several parts of Srinagar and Awantipora observed a shutdown soon after news about Pandit’s death surfaced, Greater Kashmir reported. Clashes between protestors and security personnel also took place in several parts of Srinagar. The local administration suspended internet services as a “temporary measure”.
Former Chief Ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti condemned the custodial death. “Midnight raids, crackdowns, rampant arrests, custodial murders and denial of democratic right to choose a government,” Abdullah tweeted. “Kashmir continues to suffer the fallout of the disastrous Peoples Democratic Party-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance and from the [Prime Minister Narendra] Modi government’s muscular approach to Jammu and Kashmir.”
Mufti said the death was a result of the government’s repressive approach. “Innocent men hauled up from their homes for interrogation return home only in coffins now,” Mufti tweeted. “The government of India’s repressive approach leaves young educated men vulnerable who are forced to take up arms. Stop using Kashmir to exhibit your sick chauvinistic nationalism. We have suffered enough.”
Separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq also condemned the death. “Distraught at the brutal custodial killing of young Rizwan Ahmed of Awantipora,” Farooq tweeted. “The brutal killing once again exposes the helplessness, vulnerability and insecurity to the lives of Kashmiris as the impunity of the authorities keeps rising.”
Civilian shot dead in Pulwama
A 25-year-old man was shot dead by unidentified militants in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir on Monday, PTI reported. According to the police, the militants fired at Mohsin Wani near his home in Reshipora area of Tral.
“Unidentified militants opened fire him,” a senior police officer told the Kashmir Reader. “He was rushed to hospital but succumbed on the way.”
After the shooting, the police cordoned off the area and launched a search operation to look for the assailants. “A case has been registered and investigation has been taken up,” said the officer.