‘No action, suspensions yet’: Family questions custodial death of J&K school principalhttps://indianexpress.com/article/india/jammu-and-kashmir-rizwan-asad-pandit-school-teacher-custodial-killing-case-probe-5650617/

‘No action, suspensions yet’: Family questions custodial death of J&K school principal

Though police said that Rizwan was picked up in a “terror case” registered at Panthachowk, it is unable to convince how the arrest was made two years after the attack in which both the accused militants were killed.

J&K, Rizwan Asad Pandit custodial death, Rizwan Asad Pandit death, Rizwan Asad Pandit case, J&K police custodial death, custodial death, J&K Police, NIA, Special Operations Group, J&K SOG, Militancy, India News, Indian Express, J&K news
Rizwan Pandit’s mother (centre). (Express Photo by Shuaib Masoodi)

Even as 10 days have passed since his custodial killing, the family of Awantipora school teacher Rizwan Asad is still searching for the answers. And both the J-K Police and the government are silent.

While the government has initiated a probe into the killing, several gaping holes in the story have surfaced. “There has not been any development in the case so far,” Rizwan’s older brother Mubashir Asad told The Indian Express. “None of our questions have been answered. We are now waiting for the probe to end before deciding about the legal course,” he added.

Also read | Valley principal had ‘multiple injuries’, says initial probe

On the night of March 17, Rizwan, a post graduate in Chemistry and principal of Sabir Abdullah Public School, was picked up by the police from his home in Awantipora. On Tuesday morning, police claimed Rizwan had died in custody. The family has accused the cops of killing the school teacher in custody.

Advertising

Even though ten days have passed, the government is yet to initiate any disciplinary action against the officials involved in the case – there have been no suspensions, no attachments or transfers till date.

In 2011, when a Sopore youth, Nazim Rashid Shalla, had died in police custody, the government had suspended three police officials, attached a deputy superintendent of police (DSP) and had also transferred the then superintendent of police (SP) of the area.

Also read | Special Commission of Inquiry under consideration of govt in custodial death of teacher

In fact, police have registered a case against Rizwan for “trying to escape from custody”. For the counter FIR against the school principal, the police have chosen Khrew Police station, which is not under Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS).

Though police said that Rizwan was picked up in a “terror case” registered at Panthachowk, it is unable to convince how the arrest was made two years after the attack in which both the accused militants were killed.

According to a senior police official, Rizwan, after his arrest from his home and as per the law, was to be shifted to the concerned police station following which the police would make an entry in the case file. Similarly, if police had to take him for searches in some area, they would have required to mention it in the file.

Also read | National Conference takes out march to protest custodial death of teacher

Instead, Rizwan was shifted to the camp of Special Operations Group (SOG) in Srinagar, where he allegedly died in custody.

The Panthachowk police station in on CCTNS and according to sources, no entry was made in the case file. A senior police officer, privy to the case, said that there was no forward movement in the case for over a year.

Besides this, the state government has also failed to answer why was the probe first ordered in Srinagar and then shifted to Pulwama. “If the incident happened in Pulwama, the probe had to start in that jurisdiction. Why was the probe first ordered in Srinagar?” a senior officer asked.

While police had announced the custodial death of Rizwan on Tuesday morning, however, the post mortem report revealed that he had died at least 12 hours before the examination. If Rizwan died on Monday, why did the police delay its announcement? It was during the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday that police had registered a case under section 225 in Khrew police station.

Advertising

Police have also refused to come clear on whether Rizwan was produced before a magistrate as per the Supreme Court guidelines. In D K Basu vs Government of West Bengal case, the Supreme Court had said that police will have to produce any person before the magistrate within 24 hours of his detention.

Who is the election result winner in your Lok Sabha constituency? Click here to find out. Get real-time updates, news and analysis on the 2019 Lok Sabha election results only at indianexpress.com/elections | For a deep dive on the elections check out data.indianexpress.com