‘Special Commission’ Demanded To Inquire Into Teachers ‘Custodial Death’


SRINAGAR — Kashmir business community and civil society on Saturday said an independent Special Commission of inquiry in the “custodial death” of Awantipora school teacher Rizwan Asad Pandit.

Rizwan, principal at private school, died in “police custody”, two days after he was picked from his residence on March 17. On Tuesday, when news about the Rizwan’s death spread, police issued a statement, saying  Rizwan had “died in custody” and that the matter was being probed under “procedure laid down in Section 176 of CRPC.” A day later magisterial probe at Srinagar was shut and new probe officer was appointed after police filed FIR under section 224 “escape or attempts to escape from custody”, lending a new twist to the case.

Addressing a press conference in Srinagar, 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 Governor Satya Pal Malik for setting up of a time-bound Independent Special Commission of Inquiry,” they said.

Till the time the commission submits its report, they said, 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, according to 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,” they said.

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

The family had said that his body bore evidence of being subjected to extreme physical violence.

The press conference was jointly held by KCC&I, High Court Bar Association, KTMF, KEA, KTMF (R), FCIK(A), FCIK(M), JKSECC, KCSDS, KHARA, CCIK, All Transport Welfare Association, Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers Dealers Association, Houseboat Owners Association, KHAROF, Pvt School Association, Kashmir Bakers Association, All Kashmir Chemist & Distributors Association, Hoteliers Club, All Traders & Transporters Coordination Committee, All J&K Taxi Owners Association, Association Of Kashmir Tour, Environmental Protection Group, Shehr E Khaas Coordination, Beopar Mandal S R Gunj, Rehabilitation Alliance, and Batamaloo Traders Association.

Custodial ‘Death’: Probe Officer Meets Family, Locals

 Assistant Commissioner Revenue (ACR) Pulwama Qazi Masood probing the “custodial killing” of a school principal Saturday met the victim’s family in Awantpora area of Pulwama district.

Rizwan Asad Pandit, the Principal of Sabir Abdullah Public School Tral, was picked up by the police from his home late on March 17 during a raid and was killed in police custody at the Cargo Building two days later, according to his family.

Although the police had initially admitted that Rizwan had “died” in custody and that the matter was being probed under “procedure laid down in Section 176 of CRPC,” it later filed an FIR against him for “escape or attempts to escape from custody”, lending a new twist to the case.

The magisterial inquiry that was ordered in Srinagar was also closed and a fresh probe ordered in Pulwama district and a report sought in “four weeks.”    

“Government has appointed me as an inquiry officer, I assured the family that I will conduct the fair investigation into the case,” the inquiry officer Qazi Masood told a local news agency after meeting Rizwan’s family members and local residents.

Masood said he has sought a report from SP Awantipora on why and how Rizwan was detained and the circumstances that led to his death. 

“I have also sought a postmortem report from the SP,” the officer said.

Meanwhile, reports said that soon after the inquiry officer arrived in the area and met the family members, locals held a protest demonstration demanding stern action against the guilty.






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