Teacher prepared explosives for Pulwama attack: Police

Case registered | Inquiry officer appointed. 

Srinagar: The police have said Rizwan Asad, 28, a school principal, who died in police custody on Monday night, had prepared explosives for the Pulwama attack, in which 40 CRPF men were killed last month.

“He had a strong link with the Pulwama attack and had prepared explosives for the attack,” said a senior police officer.

On Sunday night, Rizwan, who also taught chemistry, was picked up by the police from his home in south Kashmir’s Awantipora town for his alleged involvement in a militancy case.

Police sources said Rizwan had provided them leads on the Pulwama attack and provided them information on explosive- making and location where from the explosives were procured for the attack.

They said Rizwan had provided logistic support to the slain Lashkar-e-Toiba militants — Abu Ismail, Chota Qasim and Yawar Bashir — in carrying out an attack on the police in 2017, leaving a head constable dead and three policemen others injured.

After the Pulwama attack last month, the J&K Police refocused on past militancy cases along the Awantipora-Panthachowk axis in south Kashmir to lay hands on people involved in one of the deadliest attacks on the security forces in the three-decade¬-old militancy in the Valley.

“Post the Pulwama attack, we refocused on militancy cases in the area and his name surfaced as a prime suspect in one such case. He was put under the Public Safety Act (PSA) in other cases but was not questioned in the 2017 case,” said a senior police officer privy to Rizwan’s questioning.

Rizwan, the son of a Jamaat-e-Islami leader, was detained under the PSA on September 8, 2018, and released on court orders three months later. He was had done postgraduation in chemistry from the Central University of Dehradun.

The police said he was well acquainted with “explosive chemicals and their reactions”. “He took us to a location in Anantnag where he showed us why he had separated chemicals from each other, which if put together, could explode and cause damage,” a cop said. “During questioning, Rizwan revealed his know-how of explosive-making and his role in IEDs used in attacks in south Kashmir in the past two years.”

Meanwhile, the state on Wednesday appointed the Assistant Commissioner, Revenue, Pulwama, as the inquiry officer in the case. The police also registered a case into the killing at the Khrew police station in Pulwama.

His body had multiple injuries: Family

Kin of Rizwan Asad said his body bore multiple injuries due to the severe torture in police custody, leading to his death. His brother, Mubashir Asad, said: “The injury marks were clearly visible on his body. He was tortured. There was a major injury on the left eye. There were cut marks and deep burn marks on his thighs and his abdomen was swollen.” Officials privy to the post-mortem said: “The blood loss in soft tissues due to multiple injuries was extensive internally and must have led to irreversible shock in case of Rizwan.”