Residents of Palhallan town in this north Kashmir district on Monday alleged that Police have arrested 15 youth in the area during the past few days.
"Seven youth, including three students, were arrested from Tantray mohalla on Monday. With the arrest of these youth number of the detained persons since last Friday has mounted to 15," locals said.
They identified the three arrested students as Zubair Ahmad, Irfan Nabi and Tanveer Ahmad. "Fresh arrests have created fear among the local youth. Police have laid naka at several places on Srinagar-Baramulla highway to nab the youth hailing from Palhallan," said Ghulam Nabi of Tantray Mohalla.
It's in place to mention here that the situation had turned violent at Palhallan last Friday after government forces cordoned one of the mohallas in the area for carrying out anti-militancy operation. The area witnessed clashes as scores of youths tried to disrupt the search operation by resorting to stone-pelting at the government forces. Several youth, including some policemen, were injured during the clashes.
Police sources said that since that day manhunt has been launched to arrest the 20 youth, who were instrumental in disrupting the search operation. "Around 15 youth are in police custody and hunt for others is on to put a tap on the stone pelting in the area" said a police official.
The Palhallan town over a period of time has achieved the distinction of being the most 'volatile' town in north Kashmir. The town received much attention during 2008 and 2010 agitation during which it remained on edge. Several youth were killed during these agitations.
However, Police during all these years have managed to keep the protesters confined to interior of the town so that they don't disrupt the traffic on the highway. "During protests our priority is to sanitize the highway and railway track on the backyard of the area. We don't allow the protesters to come out," said a police officer.
The DIG north Kashmir, Nitish Kumar, said that police are doing their job. He said, "Locals should ensure that their children and wards don't fall in wrong hands."
"It is our priority is to ensure that common people are not affected because of a few youth, who are adamant to create law and order problem in the area. It is ultimately parents of these youth who have to think about the future of their wards, who are at receiving end" the DIG added.