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Police Fail to File Enquiry Report in ‘Custodial Killing’ of School Principal in Kashmir

The family of school principal Rizwan Assad Pandith has alleged that he was killed in police custody as torture marks were visible all over his body.

Aakash Hassan | News18@Aakashhassan

Updated:March 29, 2019, 6:35 PM IST
Police Fail to File Enquiry Report in ‘Custodial Killing’ of School Principal in Kashmir
Rizwan Assad had completed his Masters in Chemistry and Education. He was also preparing to pursue PhD, apart from working as a school principal.

Pulwama: Jammu and Kashmir police have failed to submit the report before the magisterial officer in the alleged custodial killing of a school principal, Rizwan Assad Pandith.

Pandith, a resident of Awantipora town of Pulwama district, was picked up by police in a nocturnal raid from his house on March 17. He was arrested and detained in Cargo, elite interrogation centre of Jammu and Kashmir Police, and died two days later.

The family of Pandith, 29, alleged that he was killed in police custody as torture marks were visible all over his body. “His backbone was broken. There were bruises on his face and head. His thighs were burnt down,” Pandith’s brother Mubasir told News18.

After condemnations and protests over his death, the state government ordered a magisterial probe, promising that a time-bound enquiry will be held.

On March 22, the additional commissioner revenue who has been appointed as the enquiry officer, wrote a letter to the Senior Superintended (SSP) of Police Awantipora, seeking a report within four days. “It is requested to provide a detailed report into the said incident of alleged custodial death of Rizwan Assad Pandith…,” the letter read.

In the letter, the magisterial officer sought, along with the report, “copy of FIR, inquest report, post-mortem report, viscera analysis, report, ballistic report/FSL report and any other information.”

The police was also asked to submit details of “army unit/ personnel, paramilitary forces”, “police personnel that took part in the arrest” and “custody of the deceased.”

The enquiry officer has asked for the detail of forces personnel so that their statements can be recorded.

The report was supposed to be filed in four days, but seven days after the letter was sent, the enquiry officer is yet to receive the police report. “I have not received the response of the police yet. I am going to write another letter to the police and ask them why they have not filed the report yet,” the enquiry officer, Qazi Masood, told News18.

The preliminary autopsy report in the death has revealed that “Pandit died on Monday evening, a day after he was picked up on February 17, and the family was intimated on Tuesday morning about the death.” The report had confirmed “excessive bleeding caused by deep wounds on his body” as “excessive bleeding can lead to fatal shock.”

As per the autopsy report by Government Medical College, Srinagar, the “external wounds have been suspected to be caused by some sharp object.”

However, senior superintended of police (SSP) in Awantipora, Tahir Saleem, told News18 that they have field the report.

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