Probe over Kashmir custody death
4 September 2006
Srinagar: The authorities in Indian-administered Kashmir have ordered an inquiry into the death of a teenager in police custody in the town of Bandipora. The probe was ordered after hundreds of local residents took to the streets to demonstrate against the death. The protesters said that 18-year-old Zahoor Ahmed Sofi was tortured. Meanwhile, the authorities say three Indian army soldiers and three militants have been killed in a clash in the northern town of Bandipora. A government spokesman said those killed included an army officer. In a separate incident, officials said one militant was killed in a clash with the security forces in the district of Awantipora. 'Necessary action' Locals say that Mr Sofi was picked up by Special Task Force (STF) personnel of the state police who returned his body to his family on Monday. The Deputy Inspector General of Police for Baramullah-Kupwara districts, Abdul Subhan Lone, confirmed to the BBC that Mr Sofi was in the custody of the STF and had been detained for questioning about his links with militants. Mr Lone said that he fell ill and was taken to the doctor, but could not be saved. He said that he was awaiting an inquiry report and 'necessary action' would be taken under the law. He said police would also help the family of the deceased. The BBC's Altaf Hussain in Srinagar - summer capital of Indian- administered Kashmir - said the incident is the first custodial death officially confirmed by the authorities since Prime Minister Manmohan Singh declared 'zero tolerance' of such killings in May.