Kashmir: School teacher dies in police custody

Rizwan Asad Pandit, the deceased teacher

A private school teacher, who was arrested by the Jammu and Kashmir police and the NIA in connection with a militancy related case, died in custody on Tuesday prompting authorities to order a magisterial inquiry into the incident.
 
Rizwan Asad Pandit (28), a resident of Awantipora in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district was a militancy suspect, the police said. He was arrested from his home a few days back and he died during the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday.
 
Sources revealed that Pandit was being interrogated by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) sleuths at Cargo headquarters of special operations group (SOG) of J&K Police in Srinagar, when he died. “After his death, there were some heated exchanges between the NIA sleuths and police officials,” they claimed.
 
The family of the victim said Rizwan had no links with any militant group and they were being harassed just because they are supporters of Jamaat-e-Islami, a politico-religious organisation banned by the Center government last month.
 
The police have requested a magisterial inquiry under Section 176 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to ascertain the cause and circumstances leading to Pandit's death, a police official said, adding that further details were awaited.
 
Separately police investigation has also been initiated in the jurisdictional area of the incident.

The NIA emphatically denied reports linking it with Rizwan Ahmed's death. The agency said that he was neither called for questioning nor was he examined at any other location in connection with cases being investigated by it.
 
The incident triggered massive protests and clashes in Awantipora as hundreds of students took to streets demanding action against those responsible for his death. Clashes also broke out in old city areas of Srinagar with spontaneous shutdown observed. The clashes between the protestors and security personnel were going on till evening.

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