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March 20, 2019 |

Custodial death

Rizwan Asad of Awantipora Pulwama died in police custody in Srinagar during the intervening night of 18 and 19 March. Police official while confirming his death said that Rizwan was held in a militancy related case. As the news broke out, clashes erupted in several localities of south Kashmir. The custodial death was also taken up by several prominent political leaders including two former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti. Omar, denouncing the death, wrote on twitter “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.” Mehbooba reacting to a report on the custodial death wrote “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.” A police spokesman said on Tuesday that following the procedure laid down in section 176 of crpc a magisterial enquiry is underway. The police have not denied that the death occurred while Rizwan was in custody. In the evening, the suspicion on the cause and manner in which Rizwan died further raised when reports about Rizwan being picked up by National Investigation Agency few days before made rounds in Kashmir. Mehbooba’s twitter message that followed later on Tuesday – “Custodial death of a youth (from Awantipora Pulwama) in Srinagar Kashmir. As per sources he was picked up by NIA few days ago & was lodged in CARGO camp Kp” – somehow described the apprehensions that people in Kashmir have. Custodial death is unacceptable, and the police say they have started magisterial probe, but where does the buck stop. That the situation in south Kashmir is eruptive marked with frequent cordon and search operations, militant attacks, gunfights and killings – the custodial death simply translates into a spark to the powder keg. Besides, the spree of arrests and the dissent expressed by common people is at an all time high. Since there is no elected government running the affairs of the state, the ball is in the Governor’s court. With the elected government too, as the past episodes suggest, there has been no wanted action. Civilians were killed during previous governments also giving a handle to the people in the opposition to dress down the party in power. This time it is the governor administration, so it has to take the call, lest the violence spirals and situation goes out of control.         

   

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March 20, 2019 |

Custodial death

              

Rizwan Asad of Awantipora Pulwama died in police custody in Srinagar during the intervening night of 18 and 19 March. Police official while confirming his death said that Rizwan was held in a militancy related case. As the news broke out, clashes erupted in several localities of south Kashmir. The custodial death was also taken up by several prominent political leaders including two former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti. Omar, denouncing the death, wrote on twitter “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.” Mehbooba reacting to a report on the custodial death wrote “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.” A police spokesman said on Tuesday that following the procedure laid down in section 176 of crpc a magisterial enquiry is underway. The police have not denied that the death occurred while Rizwan was in custody. In the evening, the suspicion on the cause and manner in which Rizwan died further raised when reports about Rizwan being picked up by National Investigation Agency few days before made rounds in Kashmir. Mehbooba’s twitter message that followed later on Tuesday – “Custodial death of a youth (from Awantipora Pulwama) in Srinagar Kashmir. As per sources he was picked up by NIA few days ago & was lodged in CARGO camp Kp” – somehow described the apprehensions that people in Kashmir have. Custodial death is unacceptable, and the police say they have started magisterial probe, but where does the buck stop. That the situation in south Kashmir is eruptive marked with frequent cordon and search operations, militant attacks, gunfights and killings – the custodial death simply translates into a spark to the powder keg. Besides, the spree of arrests and the dissent expressed by common people is at an all time high. Since there is no elected government running the affairs of the state, the ball is in the Governor’s court. With the elected government too, as the past episodes suggest, there has been no wanted action. Civilians were killed during previous governments also giving a handle to the people in the opposition to dress down the party in power. This time it is the governor administration, so it has to take the call, lest the violence spirals and situation goes out of control.         

   

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