SRINAGAR: Indian authorities have placed Hurriyat Forum Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq under house arrest in Srinagar, Kashmir Media Service reported on Friday.
The separatist leader has been confined to his Nigeen residence ahead of a proposed protest after Friday prayers announced by the Joint Resistance Leadership against the custodial killing of a school principal, Rizwan Asad Pandit.
The authorities have deployed police personnel outside the main gate of Farooq’s residence to prevent him from going out.
Indian police bundled Rizwan Asad Pandit from his home in a late-night raid on Sunday to a detention centre in Srinagar, where he died in the early hours of Tuesday.
No official explanation has been offered for his death. Police say Rizwan — who spent his 29th birthday in custody — was taken “in pursuance of a terror case investigation”.
He was a campaigner for Jamaat-e-Islami Kashmir, which was outlawed by New Delhi this month.
Authorities launched a sweeping crackdown that has seen hundreds arrested since. But his family said Rizwan had no links to militancy and was murdered.
“He has been murdered in cold blood, and now they are telling lies about his death. How could that be? He has been tortured to death,” Rizwan’s brother Zulqarnain Pandit told local newspaper Kashmir Reader.
News of his death spread quickly in occupied Kashmir, where popular anger against Indian occupation in the Muslim-majority region often erupts into violent clashes between civilians and Indian forces.
Rights groups, including the United Nations rights office, have accused Indian forces of acting with “virtual immunity” in occupied Kashmir, protected by laws that shield soldiers from prosecution. There have been more than 100 official inquiries into civilian deaths in occupied Kashmir since 2008 but none has resulted in convictions, said Khurram Parvez, a high-profile local activist.
“This absolute impunity completely scuttles justice,” he said.
At the height of major demonstrations against Indian rule in 2016, another teacher died in military custody, fuelling popular anger. The soldiers accused of murdering the man were never prosecuted.