BACK TO ‘90s?
Crackdown impact: youth run for safety
FLEE HOMES TO EVADE ‘POLICE HARASSMENT’
Srinagar, Aug 22: After the nocturnal raids by police and paramilitary forces, it is daytime crackdowns that are making youth run for safety.
The Saturday’s police crackdown at Bemina, in which several people were arrested, is proving to be a frightening for the city residents who are fleeing their homes to evade “police arrest and harassment.”
“You never know who is going to be arrested and why,” fumed Showkat Ahmad, a resident of Rainwari, where police cracked down today. “Even if you are not a stone pelter or a protester, you can still be arrested on a petty reason of not having an identity card.”
The crackdown is a chilling reminder of 1990s when people were dragged out of their homes and lined up by forces for an “identification parade.” Anybody without an identity card would be arrested, and released only after being tortured in custody.
“In the past two months, we are not allowing our children to stay at home overnight,” said Khalida, a resident of Hazratbal. “This is because every day we get to hear that police is raiding the houses during the night. Our children are innocent but we can’t take a chance. In the past, hundreds of innocents have been booked.”
The Bemina crackdown has made its impact felt in north and south Kashmir as well.
Reports said youth left their homes in Islamabad and Varmul fearing police crackdown. “One fails to understand why police is arresting the youth. Earlier it has proven counter-productive when such arrests evoked massive protests and widespread condemnation from various political and non-political quarters,” said Abdul Hameed, a resident of Islamabad. “This time it is bound to evoke similar reaction because youth pelting stones are simply the people of Kashmir who are giving vent to their anger by pelting stones or protesting on the streets. They don’t deserve to be booked or lodged in jails. What kind of democracy is India claiming to be when it can’t allow protests?”
Pertinently, the past two months have witnessed nocturnal police raids in Valley areas in which dozens of youth were arrested. However, a majority of them were released following the public outcry. At one moment in time, at least 1000 youth were believed to be under the custody of police. While some of them were released, many were booked under the infamous Public Safety Act (PSA).
According to political observers, measures like cracking down on youth are not going to solve the prevailing crisis. “Such moves would compound the problem,” said a political analyst, insisting not to be named. “You need a humane approach to address the crisis. By detaining youth, including children, you are just adding fuel to the fire. One fails to understand who advises the government to take such steps.”
On Saturday, many youth including an Imam were arrested in Bemina. Policemen roughed up women and misbehaved with them.
“If you are to ensure peace in Kashmir, you need to understand the sensitivity of the issue and allow youth to express their anger. Or else you are going to face the public wrath which means no end to the crisis,” the political analyst said. “The youth arrested must be immediately released. You are taking the situation back to square one, especially when it seems that there may be some end to the crisis. This way peace would never return. And such steps can have adverse psychological impact on the youth.”
Sources said the police crackdown is intended to bring and end to street protests and stone pelting by detaining the protesters. And, they said, the crackdown is likely to be held in all areas one of one, depending upon the intensity of the protests in a particular area.
When contacted, a senior police officer said, “We just want to identify the miscreants and detain them so that law and order is restored. We never want to harass public. We are just doing our duty.”
Lastupdate on : Sun, 22 Aug 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 22 Aug 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 23 Aug 2010 00:00:00 IST
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