Srinagar: The Hurriyat Conference has called for a public strike today even as protests have erupted in Kashmir over “custodial death” of a 29-year-old school teacher in Awantipora. All mainstream parties have called the death of Rizwan Asad Pandit an “unaccepted development”.

Rizwan Asad was arrested by the J&K Police for alleged terror links and he died during the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday.

The incident triggered massive protests and clashes in Awantipore as hundreds of students took to streets demanding action against those responsible for his death.

His family said Rizwan Asad had no links with any terror group and they were being harassed just because they are supporters of Jamaat-e-Islami, an organisation banned by the government last month.

Police said they will investigate the matter and have also pressed for a magisterial probe. The incident threatens to snowball into a controversy now with separatist Hurriyat Conference calling for a strike.

Meanwhile, former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti used the opportunity to slam the Union government. “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,” said Omar.

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 forced to take up arms. Stop using Kashmir to exhibit your sick chauvinistic nationalism. We have suffered enough.”