MUZAFFARABAD: Police has arrested at least 3576 people including separatist leaders and youth and booked 345 of them under stringent Public Safety Act (PSA) to quell the ongoing uprising in the Indian-held Kashmir.
“At least 3576 persons were arrested since early July across the Valley to get rid of protests and quell the over two month long uprising,” a police official told Rising Kashmir on condition of anonymity.
Among the arrested persons include separatist leaders, activists, youth and some government employees. Immediately after unrest erupted in Valley following killing of 21-year-old Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani by forces on July 8, police launched a crackdown against separatist leaders and youth to quell the anti-India wave in the Valley.
Police have also booked 345 arrested people under infamous Public Safety Act, which has been termed “lawless law” by international human rights watchdog Amnesty International. “Police received orders to book 409 people under PSA. We have so far booked 345 under PSA and they been lodged in different jails including Jammu jails,” the police official said.
He said PSA orders against 74 individuals are pending execution. “These 74 persons are either lodged at different police stations or are evading arrest,” the official said. According to him, as soon as the concerned Deputy Commissioners sign the already prepared dossiers against the individuals or they are arrested, the orders to book them under PSA will be executed.
“The arrests are aimed to act as deterrent against miscreants and to convey the message that state is going to act tough against them,” he said. The official said 2724 arrested persons have been bailed out by the courts. “860 persons facing different charges are still in police custody,” he said.
However, sources said the number of detainees is much more than 860 as claimed by police. They said police is giving figures of only those against people against whom cases have been registered. “Scores of youth are lodged in police stations across the Valley and no cases have been registered against them so far. Police is not counting these youth as detained”.
All the senior separatist leaders including Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Mohammad Yasin Malik, Shabir Shah, Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai, Showkat Bakhshi and Noor Mohammad Kalwal have been arrested while Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani has been placed under house arrest at his Hyderpora residence.
Geelani is undergoing house detention since 2010. Altaf Ahmad Shah, Peer Saifullah and Ayaz Akbar of Hurriyat (G) and Hurriyat (M) leaders Mukhtar Ahmad Waza and Ghulam Nabi Zaki have also been detained while media advisor of Mirwaiz Shahid-ul-Islam has been placed under house arrest.
Police have also detained many Jamaat-e-Islami leaders and activists including its spokesperson Advocate Zahid Ali and scholar Mujahid Shabir Fallahi. They have been lodged in different police stations. Zafar Akbar Bhat of Salvation Movement has also been detained.
Reacting to the arrest spree in the valley, Shahid-ul-Islam told Rising Kashmir, “Political space has been chocked and it is sure to pave way for violence. India had adopted the same approach before 1989.”