SRINAGAR: Protests flared in parts of India-held Kashmir on Tuesday after police said a man being questioned in connection with a security investigation had died in custody, the latest disturbances in one of the world’s most militarised regions.

The deceased, Rizwan Asad Pandit, a chemistry graduate who taught at a private school, according to his family, had been arrested as part of a “terror case investigation”, a police spokesman said.

Inquiries were being carried out into the cause of his death, the spokesman said.

Pandit’s brother, Zulkar­nain Asad Pandit, was sceptical that any investigation would reveal the truth.

“We want an investigation of it but we know nothing is going to happen,” the brother said.

“We’ve all seen investigations for the last 20 years.” Protesters threw stones at police in several parts of the disputed region following news of Pandit’s death, with shops shutting in parts of Srinagar. Police responded with tear gas.

The deceased came from a family with links to the Jamaat-i-Islami, his brother said, a political group that wants independence from India for Kashmir.

The Indian government recently banned the group which it accuses of having links to militant organisations. The group denies it is linked to militants.

“He was totally innocent and he had no affiliation with any militant outfit,” Pandit’s brother said.

Several prominent figures in occupied Kashmir condemned Pandit’s death.

“Punishment must be handed out to the killers of this young man,” said Omar Abdullah, a former chief minister of the state, on Twitter.

Published in Dawn, March 20th, 2019

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