Custodial Death Of Youth Sparks Protest In Kashmir

Custodial Death Of Youth Sparks Protest In Kashmir

31 July 2011
The Hindu
Shujaat Bukhari

Srinagar: A 28-year-old youth, Nazim Rashid of north Kashmir's Sopore town, was allegedly killed in police custody on Saturday after he was held in connection with the investigation into the killing of a labourer. His death triggered strong protest in the town. The government ordered a probe and action was taken against three police officials. Authorities, however, did not allow Opposition People's Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti to visit Sopore and put her under house arrest. Hard-line separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani was also put under house arrest. Official sources said Nazim died in custody on Saturday night. He had been arrested for questioning in connection with the recent killing of Mohammad Ashraf Dar. “He was with the militants when Dar was shot dead” a police officer said. However, Nazim's family refuted the allegation saying that he had nothing to do with the militants and was killed in custody after being “tortured severely.” The youth's death sparked protests in the town and people took to the streets. They pelted stones at the police, which led to violent clashes. Six people were reportedly injured. Reports said an “undeclared curfew” was imposed in the town and heavy deployment of police and the CRPF was made to prevent violence. However, situation continues to be tense in the town. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah described the killing a “gross human rights violation.” He promised “swift and exemplary action” against the policemen involved in the incident. An official spokesman said the Deputy Superintendent of Police (Operations) was attached, while the Guard Commander and a Sentry were placed under suspension. “The District Magistrate has appointed a board of doctors and initiated proceedings under Section 176 Cr.PC as provided under law in such cases. A case of custodial killing under Section 302-RPC has also been registered,” the spokesman said. “Further action shall be taken based on the basis medical report and the findings of the Magistrate,” he added. The decision in this regard, the spokesman said, was taken at a meeting convened by Minister of State for Home Nasir Aslam Wani. Fearing more trouble, the government placed Ms. Mehbooba under house arrest and did not allow her to visit Sopore. District Magistrate, Srinagar, Meraj Kakroo issued an order saying that her visit could further flare up the tension in the area. Condemning the action, senior PDP leaders condemned the undemocratic action of the government in preventing Ms. Mehbooba from discharging her public duty. Mr. Geelani has also been placed under house arrest, his spokesman said. “This young man has died in custody. He was beaten to death. These are the worst forms of atrocities ever done to any human,” Mr. Geelani said.


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