A man rows a boat as he holds an umbrella during rainfall on Dal Lake in Srinagar on Wednesday. Agence France-Presse
SRINAGAR: Life across the Kashmir Valley was adversely affected on Wednesday following a shutdown called by separatists to protest against the death of a youth in police custody on Monday.
Rizwan Asad Pandit, 28, died in police custody in Srinagar, three days after he was arrested from south Kashmir’s Awantipora town.
The custodial death of the youth, who worked as a teacher in a private school, has been condemned across the political and social divide in Kashmir. Authorities have ordered a magisterial inquiry into it under Section 176 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPc).
A departmental inquiry has also been ordered by police to ascertain the circumstances that led to the youth’s death.
Shops, public transport, other businesses and educational institutions remained closed in Srinagar city and other district headquarters of the Valley.
Though skeletal private transport moved in the uptown area of Srinagar city, inter-district transport remained closed. Authorities have made sufficient deployments of police and paramilitary forces to maintain law and order in the Valley.
Mobile and internet facilities have been suspended in south Kashmir districts, while its speed has been slashed down in other parts of the Valley as a precautionary measure.
Police bundled Rizwan Asad Pandit from his home in a late-night raid Sunday to a detention centre in the main city of Srinagar, where he died in the early hours of Tuesday.
No official explanation has been offered for his death. Police say Pandit — who spent his 29th birthday in custody — was taken “in pursuance of a terror case investigation”.
He was a campaigner for Jamaat-e-Islami, the largest religious political group in Kashmir, which was outlawed by New Delhi this month.
Authorities launched a sweeping crackdown that has seen hundreds arrested since. But his family said Pandit had no links to militancy and was murdered. “He has been murdered in cold blood, and now they are telling lies about his death. How could that be? He has been tortured to death,” Pandit’s brother Zulqarnain Pandit told local newspaper Kashmir Reader.
A civilian injured in firing across the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Uri sector, on March 10, succumbed to his injuries on Wednesday.