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Kashmir suspect dies in custody

A police spokesman said the government has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the custodial death

By Muzaffar Raina in Srinagar

  • Published 7.09.19, 3:21 AM
  • Updated 7.09.19, 3:21 AM
Paramilitary soldiers keep guard outside the main telephone exchange building in Srinagar, Kashmir, on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019
Paramilitary soldiers keep guard outside the main telephone exchange building in Srinagar, Kashmir, on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019 AP

Anger has swept north Kashmir’s Handwara after a 24-year-old man died in police custody on Thursday.

Police claimed the man hanged himself in the lock-up but several residents suspect foul-play and staged a protest.

The death has come amid simmering tension in the Valley against the clampdown that followed the revocation of special status. Life remained paralysed on the 33rd consecutive day on Friday.

A police spokesman said the government has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the custodial death.

The police said Reyaz Ahmad Thekri, a resident of Nandpora Malikpora, was arrested in a 2018 case on Wednesday and was found dead in the lock-up on Thursday.

A police spokesperson said preliminary investigation suggested Thekri had hanged himself.

The spokesperson said Thekri was involved in a case dealing with theft and violation of the forest act. “He was wanted in some FIRs related to timber smuggling and was arrested some days back,” an official said.

“He was arrested by police station Qalamabad on 04-09-2019 and was lodged with other accused persons in the police station,” the spokesperson added. “The accused person was found dead in the toilet attached with the lock-up. The preliminary investigation suggests that the accused hanged himself,” he said.

The death has come two days after an 18-year-old student, Asrar Ahmad Khan, died a month after he was hit by pellets. Medical records showed he was hit by pellets in his head and eyes.

The police and army, however, claimed he was killed by stone throwers.

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