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Violence After Awantipora School Teacher Dies in Police Custody in Srinagar

SRINAGAR, MARCH 19: A 28-year-old man belonging to Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district died in police custody in Srinagar, triggering a spontaneous shutdown and street clashes in Awantipora town.

As news reached Awantipora that Rizwan Asad Pandit, 28, a private school teacher, had died in police custody, clashes started between the security forces and stone-pelting youths.

All shops and other businesses were hurriedly closed and traffic also went off the roads in the town.

As a precaution, all exams scheduled for Tuesday in the Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST) at Awantipora were postponed.

Mobile Internet services were suspended in Awantipora and adjoining areas.

Authorities rushed reinforcements of security forces to Awantipora to maintain law and order.

Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted: “I had hoped custodial deaths were a thing of our dark past. This is an unacceptable development and must be investigated in a transparent, time bound manner. Exemplary punishment must be handed out to the killers of this young man.”

The National Conference leader added that with “midnight raids, crackdowns, rampant arrests, custodial murders, denial of democratic right to choose a government. Kashmir continues to suffer the fallout of the disastrous PDP-BJP alliance and from the Modi government’s muscular approach to J&K”.

Police said Rizwan was arrested three days back in connection with a militancy related case.

“He died during Monday night,” a police officer said, adding that a magisterial probe had been ordered.

“In addition, a departmental inquiry has been ordered into the circumstances that led to the death,” the officer said.

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