Kashmir hit by strike after young man’s death in custody
Indian-controlled Kashmir has been hit by a strike in the wake of the death of a young school teacher in police custody that sparked anger across the restive Himalayan region.
Police raided the home of Rizwan Asad Pandit during the late hours of March 17 and took him to a detention center in Kashmir’s main city of Srinagar. He died in the early hours of Tuesday.
The unexplained death sparked protests and confrontations between protesters and Indian forces afterward.
Shops and schools were closed in Srinagar and large parts of Kashmir on Wednesday after three main separatist groups in the region called for a strike.
Police say Pandit, who turned 29 in custody and was a campaigner for the Jamaat-e-Islami group, was taken “in pursuance of a terror case investigation.”
India banned the Jamaat-e-Islami political party in Kashmir and has arrested hundreds of the group’s leaders and activists since then.
“He has been murdered in cold blood, and now they are telling lies about his death. How could that be? He has been tortured to death,” local newspaper Kashmir Reader quoted Pandit’s brother Zulqarnain Pandit as saying.
Rights groups, including the UN rights office, say Indian troops are acting with “virtual immunity” in Kashmir, with laws shielding them from being sued.