Custodial killing of school teacher: Kashmir shuts in protest; Train services, mobile internet suspended

Srinagar: Kashmir valley is observing a complete shutdown on Wednesday against the “custodial killing” of a school teacher and Jama’at-e-Islami activist Rizwan Asad on Tuesday. The call for shutdown was issued by the Joint Resistance Leadership.

Shops and other business establishments are shut in the capital city Srinagar while public transport is off the roads. Reports of complete shutdown were also received from other district headquarters of the valley.

Authorities have increased the deployment of Police and paramilitary soldiers in Srinagar on Sunday and enforced a restrictions on the movement of people in anticipation of protests and clashes. While the mobile internet services have also been suspended in many districts of the valley including Kulgam, Pulwama, Shopian, Islamabad, Budgam and Srinagar.

Meanwhile, authorities have suspended Train service for security reasons after receiving an advisory from divisional administration and police.

A railway official said that no train will run on Srinagar-Badgam and Baramulla in north Kashmir. Similarly, no train will also chug on Badgam-Srinagar-Anantnag-Qazigund in south Kashmir to Banihal in Jammu region.

A 29-year-old post graduate in Physics – who headed a private school, operated a private coaching centre, and was guest faculty at the Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST) in Awantipora – Rizwan Asad was killed in police custody after being taken, according to his family, to police Cargo camp in Srinagar.

Rizwan Assad Pandit, son of Assadullah Pandit, a resident of Awantipora area in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, was picked up from his home by local police on Sunday evening.

On Monday, when his family tried to contact him at the local police station, they were told that Rizwan had been whisked away by the police’s Cargo wing in Srinagar.

“The local police told us not to contact anyone. While we were still trying to figure out what to do, this morning the news of his murder reached us,” Zulqarnain Pandit, Rizwan’s brother, told Kashmir Reader.

The family says that Rizwan was hale and hearty when he was picked up by the local police team – headed by the area’s Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP) – while his entire family was harassed.

“He has been murdered in cold blood and now they are telling lies that he just died. How can he? He has been tortured to death,” family members said.

Rizwan comes from a well-respected and well-educated family of Awantipora. After completing his Masters from Dehradun, he was now planning to enrol in a doctorate degree at a local university. He was heading the Sabir Abdullah Public School (SAPS) – run under the Tahira Khanum Trust – in Awantipora.

His father Assadullah Pandit is a retired official of Central Government’s Handicrafts department and was also an Ameer-Halqa of the now banned Jama’at-e-Islami.

Following the recent ban on the Jama’at, while most of the prominent activists of the party were arrested, Assadullah was not. His son, however, was.

The family said it was no crime to be associated with the Jama’at. “Yes, my father is associated with the Jama’at and so was my brother. Is that a crime? Is that a reason to kill someone in cold blood?” Mubashir asked.

City FM JK
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