‘Custodial killing’ of Rizwan: Biz community, civil society asks Governor to step up Special Commission of inquiry

Srinagar: Valley’s business community and civil society on Saturday in a joint presser, asked Governor Satya Pal Malik to set-up an independent Special Commission of inquiry in the ‘custodial killing’ of Awantipora school teacher Rizwan Asad Pandit.

They said that there have been countless instances of inquiries being ordered in killings without any results.

“To deter future violations, we appeal to the Hon’ble Governor Mr. Satya Pal Malik for setting up of a time-bound Independent Special Commission of Inquiry,” they said.

The members said that till the time the commission submits its report, it would serve the ends of justice if the case is treated to be one of custodial killing and all persons associated with it are put behind bars and kept away from active duty.

“Such inquiries, suffering from institutional bias and State interference, have rarely served the interests of justice,” they said, in a statement.

“We have a reason to believe that this killing would also suffer the same fate and the killers would again roam free to kill, more confident in the fact that their crimes will never be brought to account,” said the statement.

They said that the repeated perpetration of serious violations of human rights and humanitarian law needs in-depth fact-finding and investigation.

The initial probe has suggested that Pandit, who was associated with the Jamaat-e-Islami might have died due to ‘multiple injuries’  reported the Indian Express.

Rizwan, who was picked up the police and lodged in CARGO, an SOG camp in Srinagar, according to the initial probe, died because of “extravasation of blood” — the leakage of blood from a vessel into the surrounding tissues — caused by multiple injuries.

According to the report quoting an official privy to the finding, “The blood loss in soft tissues due to multiple injuries was extensive internally, and this must have led to irreversible shock. There was no blunt injury or damage to the internal organs,” he said.

“He had cuts and injuries all over his body,” he said. “He also had a haematoma (a solid swelling of clotted blood within the tissues) in his left arm and eye,” he said.

While ruling out a heart attack, the official said a “roller” may have been applied over his legs, causing the veins and arteries to rupture.

Reacting to the ‘custodial killing’ of Rizwan Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry had called it ‘a state sponsored act of terror’. 

National Conference on Wednesday said that the Government must clarify under whose custody the murder of Awantipora youth happened.

NC said an FIR should be registered in the matter against the officials concerned.

“Whether the youth was in the custody of NIA or police, the responsibility lies at the door of the governor. The young teacher was in the custody of the state,” NC chief spokesman Aga Roohullah said.

Meanwhile, on the call of the Joint Resistance Leadership, Kashmir valley observed  a complete shutdown against the ‘custodial killing’ of Rizwan Asad Pandit, a school teacher associated with the Jamaat-e-Islami.

Shops and other business establishments were shut in the capital city Srinagar while public transport remained roads.

Rizwan Pandit, who was arrested by the police in a ‘militancy-related case’, died in police custody at CARGO camp in Srinagar last night, a police spokesman said in a statement.

National Investigation Agency (NIA) however denied reports that Rizwan Pandit died while in their custody.

“NIA emphatically denies reports linking NIA with Rizwan 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,” a statement by the agency read.

Joint Resistance Leadership had called it an ‘act of state terrorism’, and announced a shutdown in protest against the same.

Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA) had supported the strike call extended by Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) against the ‘brutal custodial killing’ of Awantipora youth Rizwan Pandith.

As soon as the news of the custodial death of Rizwan Pandith, a teacher in Awantipora reached the area, intense clashes erupted and a spontaneous shutdown was observed.

Reports said that all shops and other commercial establishments remained closed in the area while traffic went off the roads soon after news of death of Rizwan Pandith reached there.

Students at the University of Kashmir also staged a protest against the custodial death of Pandith and summons issued to Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

Reacting to the incident, Omar Abdullah demanded exemplary punishment to those responsible for the death of Pandith.

PDP Chief Mehbooba Mufti while reacting over the custodial death of the Awantipora youth said that GoI’s repressive approach has left young educated men vulnerable who are forced to take up arms.

Peoples Conference Chief Sajad Lone in his reaction said that ‘this is what sanctity of human life has been reduced to in Kashmir.’

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