March 2019 News

Will Fight For Justice Not With Guns But Legally: Rizwan's Family

21 March 2019
Kashmir Reader
Suhail A Shah

Awantipora: Amid a complete shutdown in Awantipora on Thursday, residents including the local Sikh community and the family of Rizwan Assad Pandit held a peaceful protest demanding justice and punishment to the killers of the young academic who was picked up from his home on Sunday night by police. They also debunked police claims that Rizwan had tried to escape custody. On Wednesday, the magisterial inquiry ordered in Srinagar into Rizwan's custodial killing was closed and a fresh one initiated in Pulwama. Besides, an FIR was lodged against Rizwan for trying to escape police custody. The infuriated family today, along with a large number of local residents, took to the streets and debunked the police version. 'We have a report from SMHS which shows his spine was broken. He had cuts and bruises all over his body, his vital organs had been damaged, and he had a head injury as well. After all this the police have the audacity to claim that he tried to flee custody,' Mubashir Assad, Rizwan's elder brother, told the media here. He questioned how his brother could have tried to escape in such a debilitated condition. The family said that they were ready for exhumation of Rizwan's body to establish how brutally he was tortured, 'despite the fact that the exhumation will give us immense pain,' they said. The family vowed to fight a legal battle against the perpetrators of the crime. 'We do not have guns and we won't fight with guns. We will fight legally because whoever did this to my brother they are not humans and need to be punished,' Mubashir said. Rizwan's family blamed the Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP) Awantipora, who headed the police team that picked up Rizwan from his home on Sunday. 'He will have to answer where he took my brother and to whom he handed him over,' Mubashir said. The protestors today gathered outside the gurudwara in Awantipora, along National Highway 1A, holding placards with pictures of Rizwan. 'Justice for Rizwan,' read the placards. The protestors chanted slogans of 'Rizwan Ke Qaatilon Ko, Pesh Karo (Bring forward the killers of Rizwan)'. Dozens of members of the local Sikh community were part of the protest. A complete shutdown was observed in Awantipora area to mourn and protest Rizwan's killing. All shops, schools and other places of work remained closed and traffic was diverted to NH-44 by the authorities. The 29-year-old Rizwan was a post graduate in Physics, headed a private school and a coaching centre, delivered guest lectures at Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST), and planned to enrol in a PhD degree. Police after the killing said that he was arrested in connection with a 'terror' case and maintained that an internal as well as a magisterial inquiry will be carried out into his killing.