The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday denied that Rizwan Pandith, who died in police custody, was being interrogated by the agency.
“The deceased was not examined by the probe agency,” said the NIA in a statement.
“NIA emphatically denies reports linking NIA with Rizwan Ahmed resident of Awantipora,” the probe agency said.
“He was neither called for questioning nor was he examined at any other location in connection with cases being investigated by NIA,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, separatists have called for shutdown in Kashmir on Wednesday to protest against Rizwan’s death in police custody.
Earlier today, violence erupted in downtown Srinagar and Awantipura areas when Pandith, who was detained for interrogation in connection with the Pulwama terror attack, died in police custody on Tuesday.
The 28-year-old worked as a teacher at a private school. Police said that he was an activist of the banned Jamaat-e-Islami in the Pulwama area of South Kashmir.
Rizwan was picked up by the police three days ago in connection with the attack which killed 44 CRPF personnel. He died around midnight yesterday.
A magisterial inquiry under Section 176 CRPC has been ordered into his death.
IGP (Kashmir zone) SP Pani confirmed that Rizwan died in police custody and the cause of his death was being investigated. The police, too, separately initiated a probe in the jurisdictional area of incident.
Incidents of stone-pelting were reported in downtown Srinagar and Awantipura as news about death of the teacher spread. Police fired teargas shells to disperse the stone-pelters, who were demanding action against the NIA and policemen interrogating Rizwan.
Reacting to the death, National Conference chief Omar Abdullah tweeted, “I had hoped custodial deaths were a thing of our dark past. This is an unacceptable development & must be investigated in a transparent, time-bound manner. Exemplary punishment must be handed out to the killers of this young man.”
In another tweet, Omar said, “Midnight raids, crackdowns, rampant arrests, custodial murders, denial of democratic right to choose a government. Kashmir continues to suffer the fallout of the disastrous PDP-BJP alliance and from the Modi government’s muscular approach to J&K.”
PDP chief and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti tweeted, “Innocent men hauled up from their homes for interrogation return home only in coffins now. GOI’s repressive approach leaves young educated men vulnerable who are forces to take up arms. Stop using Kashmir to exhibit your sick chauvinistic nationalism. We have suffered enough.”