SHRC issues notices to DGP, home secretary in Rizwan custodial death case

The J&K state human rights commission Wednesday asked the state’s police chief and principal secretary home for their reports regarding the death last week in police custody of the Awantipora teacher, Rizwan Ahmad Pandith. 

The SHRC issued the notices barely a week after it first asked the police to furnish a report into Pandith’s custodial death that sparked outrage across Kashmir. 

“Let in the first instance issue notice to principal secretary home and DGP, JK submitting their report in the matter,” read the order issued by the commission.

Authorities have ordered a magisterial enquiry into Pandith’s death and police were also investigating the case internally.

Initial post mortem report of 28-year-old teacher had found that he had “multiple injuries”.

While taking suo-motto cognisance in the matter, the commission had also sought response from senior superintendent of police (SSP) Srinagar under whose area Pandith’s custodial death took place. 

The commission’s direction came following a complaint by rights activist Ahsan Untoo before it.

In his petition Untoo stated that “the deceased was arrested by police on 16 March 2019, and thereafter shifted to SOG camp—CARGO Srinagar during the intervening night of 18/19 March 2019, where he was killed in custody.”

The petitioner has also mentioned that the deceased was earlier detained under public safety act (PSA) and after his release was “unnecessarily harassed by the agencies and ultimately was killed in the police custody”.