Srinagar: The custodial death of a local school teacher has triggered protest across various parts of South Kashmir on Tuesday.
The family of 28-year-old Rezvan Asad Khan alleged that he was tortured to death by the cops at an interrogation centre in summer capital Srinagar.
“It is cold-blooded murder of an innocent person,” said his younger brother.
The officials have confirmed Khan's custodial death and a magisterial inquiry has been initiated under the procedure laid down in Section 176 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CRPC).
A separate police investigation in the jurisdictional area of the incident is also underway.
A few days back, Khan a chemistry teacher at a private school was picked up by the local police at the instance of National Investigation Agency (NIA) in connection to the militancy related case.
He reportedly died during the intervening night of March 18 and 19 while he was probed and lodged in the Cargo camp of the Special Operations Group (SOG) in Srinagar.
However, the NIA has strongly denied Khan was called for questioning or examined by it at any stage. The probe agency in a statement said, “NIA emphatically denies reports linking NIA with Rezvan Ahmed, resident of Awantipora. He was neither called for questioning nor was he examined at any other location in connection with cases being investigated by NIA.
The local sources said that Khan’s father was a member of Jamaat-e-Islami, the right-wing organization recently banned by the Home Ministry.
The family claimed that Khan had nothing to do with any militant outfit.
Thousands of people took to the streets of Awantipore town, 28-km south of Srinagar, and neighbouring areas to protest against the alleged custodial death of Khan.
''Outside the local police station, the irate crowd of youth clashed with the security personnel'', witnesses said.
According to a report, the police fired tear gas canisters to quell stone-hurling mobs.
Amid growing tensions, the authorities have closed the Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST) campus at Awantipore and postponed the exams scheduled for Tuesday “as a precautionary measure”.
The authorities ordered the spontaneous shutdown and suspension of the internet services in parts of South Kashmir.
The alleged custodial killing has evoked widespread condemnations including mainstream politicians.
The former chief minister and National Conference (NC) leader Omar Abdullah has demanded the timely and transparent investigation in the incident.
He tweeted, “I had hoped custodial deaths were a thing of our dark past. This is an unacceptable development & must be investigated in a transparent, time-bound manner. Exemplary punishment must be handed out to the killers of this young man.”
Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) president and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti also took to the micro-blogging site and tweeted, “Innocent men hauled up from their homes for interrogation return home only in coffins now. GoI’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.”
Shah Faesal, former IAS officer and leader of recently launched J&K Peoples’ Movement party, said, “This custodial killing can further destroy the prospectus of peace in Kashmir.” He also demanded a time-bound inquiry into the incident and immediate arrest of the “culprits”....