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Awantipora teacher’s family denies police’s version: ‘Exhume Rizwan to see the torture he bore’

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, Mar 21: The family of Rizwan Assad Pandith, the slain Awantipora teacher who was killed in police custody in Srinagar, Thursday sought a fresh medical investigation of the deceased to ascertain the exact cause of his death.

The family members accompanied by the locals on Thursday staged a protest demonstration in Awantipora area, while demanded justice.
Chanting slogans, ‘We want justice’ ‘Rizwan ke qatilo ko pesh karo (Bring to us Rizwan’s murderers),’ the protesters were joined by the members of local Sikh community as well.

An initial post-mortem report has revealed that Rizwan may have died due to “multiple injuries that caused extravasation of blood” possibly due to the torture in custody.

 

Brother of the deceased, Mubashir Assad, who was leading a protest in Awantipora, said the family was even ready for the exhumation of the body in order to find out the agony inflicted on his brother while he was in custody.

“Although, we will not prefer it but we are ready for exhumation of my brother’s body. Let a new team of doctors be constituted by the authorities for the medical examination. We want justice and culprits taken to task,” he said.

Mubashir said Rizwan carried multiple marks particularly on his back and thighs, a claim he supported by showing the photos of the injury and burn marks on the deceased’s body.

“He had injury marks on his head and face, his left eye had blackened. On the rear end of his thighs, there were horizontal cut marks. The entire portion was black as if he was subjected to electric shock or as if a hot iron was placed on his thighs,” he said.

Not satisfied with the way the government investigation has gone so far, Mubashir said the family will move to the court in order to seek justice.

“The police versions on Rizwan are killing are unacceptable and insane. My brother was brutally tortured and injured and under such conditions he would be not have been able move an inch,” he said.

“The post mortem was conducted without seeking approval from the family. The entire process and the statement by police indicate that they want to hush up the case,” he added.

Father of the deceased, Muhammad Asadullah Pandit also contested the reports claiming his son had escaped from the custody.

“If he (Rizwan) was taken to Srinagar Cargo, how come he was killed at Khrew. Besides Rakshak vehicles are too compact and closed from all sides. There is no way anyone can escape from it,” he said.


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Jaish almost wiped out, no one willing to head it: Army

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Apr 24: Army on Wednesday claimed the government forces have “severely targeted” the militants for the last few months and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) militant outfit was “almost wiped out with no one willing to take over it”.

Addressing a press conference here, GOC 15 Corps, KJS Dhillon, who was accompanied by Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbagh Singh, IGP Kashmir SP Pani, and IG CRPF Zulfikar Hassan, said that 69 militants have been killed and 12 of them arrested so far this year.

“Post Pulwama incident, 41 militants have been killed and out of them 25 belonged to Jaish-e-Mohammed, 13 of them were Pakistanis while 13 were A+ category,” Dhillon said.

 

The GOC 15 Corps claimed that they have targeted JeM leadership.

“The situation now is so that no one is coming forward to take over the leadership of JeM in the valley,” he said.

“Even after Pakistan’s best efforts, we will continue to suppress JeM. The operations against the militants will continue with full vigour and we will not let militancy rise up,” he said, while appealing the local militants to surrender.

“Recruitment of local militants has gone down. In addition, those who surrender, we will take care of their security,” he said.

Dhillon also advised civilians not to rush to the encounter sites.

Asked about the bi-weekly restrictions on civilian traffic on the Highway, he replied, “This is just a temporary measure. There are now relaxations on the civilian traffic.”

On the occasion, the DGP said 272 militants were killed in the state during 2018 and a “large number was apprehended.”

He too claimed that the local recruitment in militant outfits had declined.

“2018 was generally a successful year. There has been less ‘law and order’ problem. We brought many youth (who had joined militancy) back to their homes,” the DGP claimed.

“Elections have been conducted peacefully in the state because of a well-planned security grid. Voter turnover at 13 percent in Anantnag district is not less. People voted despite threats, no one can be forced to vote,” he said.

Asked there were reports that 11 youth had gone missing in south Kashmir during the last one month, the IGP Kashmir said, “Few had gone missing but returned. They had gone missing for other reasons, not to join militancy.”

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Held Pak militant paraded before media

‘Chota Dujana was active in Srinagar for over a year’

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Apr 24: Police on Wednesday presented a Pakistani militant Mohammad Waqar, alias Chota Dujana before the media, who, they claimed, was arrested from Pattan area in Baramulla on Monday.

During a press conference here, the militant was briefly allowed to respond to media.

“My name is Mohammad Waqar, resident of Miana Mohalla Punjab in Pakistan. I underwent a four-month militant training there,” he said.

 

 “I was told that Kashmiris are harassed, women are assaulted and Muslims are not allowed to offer prayers in Masjids. But I did not find any such thing here,” he replied when asked why had he picked up arms.

The militant was soon moved away.

SSP Baramulla, Abdul Wahid, said Waqar was affiliated with Lashkar-e-Toiba and had arrived in Kashmir in July 2017.

“He was operating in Srinagar for over a year now,” the officer said.

He added that the militant was travelling in a vehicle along with a Kashmiri when they were intercepted by the police near Mirgund, Pattan.

“They were chased and arrested near Chainabal Pattan,” he said.

The SSP said that as per their preliminary investigations, the militant was given shelter in old city as well as uptown areas of Srinagar.

“His plan was to resurrect militancy in Baramulla,” Wahid said.

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Malik sent to judicial custody till May 24

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New Delhi, Apr 24: A Delhi court Wednesday sent the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief Yasin Malik, arrested in connection with the alleged funding case, to judicial custody till May 24.

The Tihar jail authorities have also moved an application seeking direction to produce Malik through video conferencing due to security concerns.

The family of Yasin Malik, said on Saturday, that the JKLF chief had fallen ill and was shifted to a Delhi hospital after he went on a hunger strike to protest against his “illegal” detention.

 

Earlier this month, Malik was brought to Delhi from Jammu and was later arrested by NIA in connection with an alleged case related to the funding of militant and separatist groups in Jammu and Kashmir. He was produced in a special court which remanded him in NIA’s custody till April 22.

Malik was shifted to Delhi’s Tihar Jail after NIA secured his production remand.  The JKLF chief was taken into preventive custody in February by the J&K police and lodged in Jammu’s Kot Balwal jail.

Malik organisation JKLF was banned last month by the Centre.

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