Other States

Shutdown in Kashmir to protest custodial death

CRPF personnel patrol a street as it snows in Srinagar March 20, 2019 during a shutdown called to protest the death of a teacher apparently in police custody.

CRPF personnel patrol a street as it snows in Srinagar March 20, 2019 during a shutdown called to protest the death of a teacher apparently in police custody.   | Photo Credit: REUTERS

Probe to find out if an FIR was lodged

Kashmir Valley observed a shutdown on Wednesday to protest the death of a teacher apparently in police custody.

The circumstances under which the 28-year-old man was rounded up and the cause of his death, however, remain undisclosed.

The shutdown call issued by the separatist amalgam, Joint Resistance Leadership, comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik, impacted daily life in the Valley. Schools, colleges, offices and markets remained closed. There was thin traffic on the roads. Several volatile areas were sealed by the authorities with additional deployments. Train services were suspended and mobile internet was slowed down “as a precautionary measure.”

The victim, Rizwan Asad Pandit from south Kashmir’s Awantipora area, was buried late on Tuesday evening. Hundreds of locals participated in the funeral.

The Hurriyat has asked the international community and human rights bodies “to play their role in ending human rights abuses in Kashmir.”

Pandit was picked up three days ago by a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP)-led team from Srinagar. A magisterial probe is on to find out if an FIR was lodged in the local police station and permission was sought for a night-long interrogation in accordance with the police rules.

The police as well as the probe body, headed by Additional Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, have remained silent on “the cause and the circumstances of Pandit’s death.” A top police official confirmed to The Hindu that the Awantipora police was not involved in the arrest. It was a Srinagar counter-insurgency cell, widely known as Cargo, which picked up Pandit and subjected him to a “night-long interrogation.”

“We have no faith in such probes... I doubt if anyone will be prosecuted,” said the victim’s brother Mubashir Assad, whose father belongs to the banned Jamaat-e-Islami.

“Since 2008, 108 inquiries were ordered in Kashmir to probe various human rights violations. Instead of allowing normal investigations after filing a proper FIR, these 108 inquiries led to zero prosecutions of the accused armed forces personnel and thus scuttled justice,” said Khurram Pervez, chairperson at Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances.

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 7:13:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/shutdown-in-kashmir-to-protest-custodial-death/article26593479.ece

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