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Kashmir shuts against custodial death of Awantipora teacher

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Srinagar, Mar 20: Normal life in Kashmir was affected Wednesday due to a strike called by separatists to protest against the custodial death of an Awantipora school teacher.

Schools, colleges and universities remained closed due to the strike called by the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) to protest against the death of Rizwan Pandit in police custody on the intervening night of March 18 and 19.

Shops and other business establishments also remained closed while public transport remained off the roads though a few private vehicles could be seen plying on the city roads.

The state administration has ordered a magisterial probe into Pandit’s death while police have ordered a separate inquiry into the matter.

Reports of a complete shutdown were also received from other district headquarters of the Valley.

Police and paramilitary forces in adequate numbers were deployed in sensitive areas to thwart any protests, officials said.

Mobile Internet services were also snapped in southern Kashmir and the speed throttled to 2G in Srinagar and Budgam districts in central Kashmir.

28-year-old Rizwan Pandith died in the custody of police at CARGO camp in Srinagar, a police official said yesterday.

Pandith was picked up by the police from his home few days ago.

“In pursuance of a militancy case investigation, a suspect Rizwan Pandith of Awantipora was in police custody. The person died in police custody. In this matter, while following the procedure laid down in section 176 of CrPC, a magisterial inquiry is underway,” a police spokesman had said.

His death has triggered a fresh wave of anger across Kashmir, evoking widespread condemnations from the mainstream and separatist circles in the Valley.

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