Kashmir on the edge as Awantipora youth dies in police custody; family alleges “well-planned, cold-blooded murder”

Rizwan

The Hush Post | 9:58 pm | One-minute read |

Clashes have erupted in Kashmir after a local youth died in police custody on Tuesday. Cops detained Rizwan Assad, who turned 29 on March 18, after a raid on his house on Sunday evening. The police have not stated the reason for his death.

Rizwan Assad was school principal in Awantipora town of south Kashmir. Assad’s family alleges his death is a “well-planned, cold-blooded murder.” Reports say police arrested Assad in connection with a terror case.

Assad’s family has denied the charges. “They took him away and threatened us that they would shoot him if we raised a hue and cry,” News18 quoted his brother Mubashir Assad as saying.

Rizwan Assad was arrested for “anti-national activities” in 2018 but was acquitted by the J&K High Court. Police didn’t release him for the next 15 days despite the court orders, the family members allege.

The custodial death has added fuel to the fire in an already tense valley.  Locals clashed with armed forces in Assad’s home town and other parts of Valley witnessed a partial shutdown. The separatists have called for state-wide shutdown on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the administration has initiated a magisterial probe into Assad’s death. His body continues to be in Police Control Room in Srinagar as the family has refused to collect it. They want the police to hand it over to them instead.

Assad’s hometown Awantipora is 10 kilometers away from Lethpora, where 40 CRPF personnel were killed in a terrorist attack. Ever since, the police have initiated a crackdown on militants and have taken several locals into custody for interrogation.

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