August 2, 2011 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Srinagar, (August 02, 2011): Another custodial death is reported by various sections of media from Kashmir. Nazim Rashid, a 28-year-old youth, is reported to have died in police custody in Baramulla district’s Sopore town on 31 July, 2011 a day after he was detained.
Rashid, a shopkeeper, was allegedly tortured to death in police custody on Sunday (July 31st), triggering widespread condemnation. The family members of Nazim Rashid said that he was picked up by the Special Operations Group (SOG) of Police and army on Saturday afternoon for questioning in connection with the killing of a civilian in the area.
The father of the youth, who died in police custody in Sopore yesterday, said there were torture marks all over his son’s body. He said his son was innocent and expressed the hope that inquiry will bring out the truth, adds a PTI report.
“The body of my son (Nazim Rashid) had torture marks all over. There was hardly any part which did not tell the story of brutality committed on him,” Abdul Rashid Shalla, a retired police officer, is reported to have told PTI over phone.
He said his 28-year-old son was innocent. “The family had fully cooperated with the army and police in their probe into the killing of a civilian by suspected militants in the town a few days earlier,” he said.
An army Major visited our shop on July 30 around 2.00 pm and started questioning my son. My son pleaded innocence but the officer insisted on taking him, promising that he will be home by evening,” the father of the deceased said.
Shalla said his son had admitted that he was passing by the area where suspected militants shot dead Mohammad Ashraf on July 28 but he was not involved in the killing any way.
My son was in custody of SOG, claims father
Nazim’s father is reported to have stated that his son was in the custody of Special Operations Group (SOG). “When my son did not return home till late evening, I contacted Army officer who informed me that Nazim had been handed over to Special Operations Group (SOG). All efforts to contact Nazim went in vain and the next morning we came to know about his death in custody,” he said.
A large number of people participated in funeral prayers
Nazim was laid to rest late last night after the medical board appointed by the Deputy Commissioner Baramulla conducted the autopsy.
A large number of people participated in his funeral prayers and dispersed peacefully after burying him at his ancestral graveyard.
Shalla, who is a retired police officer, is, however, hopeful that the magisterial inquiry ordered by the government into the circumstances leading to his son’s death will bring out the truth.
“Whoever saw the body of my son were reduced to tears including the officials who are going to probe his death. I am hopeful that truth shall prevail,” he said.
RTI application seeks information about killing
On Monday (August 1st), the convener of the Jammu and Kashmir “Right to Information Movement”, Dr. Raja Muzaffar Bhat, filed an application in the State Home Department, seeking some vital details about the incident.
Bhat has asked certain pointed questions to the Department, under which the J&K Police operates. The queries include: Why was Nazim Rashid arrested and what were the charges levelled against him? Was any FIR filed against him, if yes, provide a copy of the same. What was the time and date of his arrest and who were the police officials who arrested him? What was the total time for which Nazim Rashid was under custody of Army and Police and who were the officials who interrogated him? What was the official or preliminary cause of his death? Had the deceased complained of any illness or discomfort before his death in custody and was any first-aid given or was he treated for the same by any medical officer. If yes, provide the details of the incident. Where the parents informed officially about the death of their son? Was the post-mortem process video-recorded as per the Supreme Court guidelines? Provide the names of officers/magistrate who conducted the post-mortem. “This is an important issue on which I felt that the RTI should be filed. There is a wrong notion that RTI is only meant to seek information on corruption related cases which is not the case. These are the issues where RTI can be effectively used,” Bhat told Greater Kashmir.
As per the Right to Information Act of 2009, the government is supposed to divulge the information or otherwise reply within 30 days from the date of filing of the application.
Leadership remain under house arrest
Kashmiri leadership including chairmen of both factions of the Hurriyat Conference remained under house detention on Monday. As per media report chairman of Hurriyat Conference (G) Syed Ali Shah Geelani remained under house arrest for the sixth consecutive day on 1 August.
Geeliani calls for shut down
Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani has called for a complete shutdown in Kashmir Valley on Wednesday to protest the death of a youth in police custody in Sopore town.
“The killing of Nazim Rashid is a blatant violation of human rights by the state police,” the pro-freedom leader said here.
Geelani appealed to the people to observe a total shutdown on 3 August in the Valley to protest the incident.
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Related Topics: Human Rights, Kashmir Issue, Kashmir Killings