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Custody death: Valley principal had ‘multiple injuries’, says initial probe

The findings reveal that Rizwan died because of “extravasation of blood” — the leakage of blood from a vessel into the surrounding tissues — caused by multiple injuries.

Written by Bashaarat Masood | Srinagar |
Updated: March 21, 2019 7:00:57 am
J&K, custodial death, J&K Police, Awantipora principal death, Awantipora principal sustodial death, srinagar principal custody death, NIA, Special Operations Group, J&K SOG, Militancy, India News, Indian Express Rizwan Pandit’s mother (centre). (Express Photo by Shuaib Masoodi)

According to the initial post-mortem findings, Rizwan Asad Pandit, a 29-year-old school principal from Awantipora who died in police custody on Tuesday, may have died due to “multiple injuries”. The findings reveal that Rizwan died because of “extravasation of blood” — the leakage of blood from a vessel into the surrounding tissues — caused by multiple injuries.

“The blood loss in soft tissues due to multiple injuries was extensive internally, and this must have led to irreversible shock,” an official privy to the findings told The Indian Express. “There was no blunt injury or damage to the internal organs,” he said.

“He had cuts and injuries all over his body,” he said. “He also had a haematoma (a solid swelling of clotted blood within the tissues) in his left arm and eye,” he said.

While ruling out a heart attack, the official said a “roller” may have been applied over his legs, causing the veins and arteries to rupture.

Alleging that Rizwan was murdered in custody, his family has claimed that his body bore torture marks. “The injury marks were visible all over his body,” said his brother, Mubashir Asad. “He was brutally tortured,” he said.

Mubashir said Rizwan’s left eye had turned black, and the left side of his face was swollen. “There were severe injury marks on his thighs… cut marks and deep burn marks were visible on his thighs… There were stitches on his head,” he alleged.

According to family members, Rizwan was picked up from his home for questioning on Sunday night. In a statement on Tuesday, police said he was detained in connection with a “terror case” but did not provide further details.

On Wednesday, senior police officers declined to comment on the case. SSP (Srinagar) Haseeb Mughal said he could not give details as the “magisterial inquiry” is in progress. “He was picked up in a terror case registered in Panthachowk police station,” Mughal told The Indian Express. Asked if Rizwan was produced before a magistrate after his arrest, Mughal said: “I can’t tell you anything about that because a magisterial inquiry in the case is going on”.

The government has said that the magisterial inquiry is being conducted by the district authorities in Pulwama. Earlier, Deputy Commissioner (Srinagar) Shahid Iqbal told a news agency that the magisterial inquiry would be conducted by ADC, Srinagar.

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