Cops hunt for ‘those who have gone into hiding to evade detention’
In a major crackdown on protesters, police have arrested more than 2500 persons from different parts of Kashmir in a span of just four weeks in a bid to end to the ongoing anti-India uprising, official sources said on Monday. More youth have been identified and shall be rounded up “soon”, they said.
Most of the arrests have been carried out in Kashmir’s northern and southern districts and the arrestees mainly include Hurriyat Conference activists, mostly from Syed Ali Geelani-led faction, and Jammat-e-Islami.
Police claim these arrests have made “after proper verification of their involvement in protests and stone-throwing.”
“We have deployed our personnel in uniform, equipped with cameras, for recording the incidents of stone-pelting and pinpoint those instigating the protesters, based on the video footage available with us,” said a senior police official. He said once an accused is identified, he is arrested “at an appropriate time.”
In South Kashmir—which has largely been the epicenter of protests and clashes following the killing of Hizb commander Burhan Wani on July 8—over 1500 people have so far been arrested mainly from Pulwama, Anantnag, Shopian and Kulgam districts.
“Our people on ground know the trouble-makers. They are being arrested,” Deputy Inspector General of Police (South Kashmir), Nitish Kumar told Greater Kashmir. However, he did not divulge the exact number of people who have been arrested so far.
A police official, in know-how of this arrest spree, said they are trying to arrest youth during protests rallies. “While the protesters disperse, we try to arrest (youth) them,” he said, admitting candidly that “during nocturnal raids, we face stiff resistance from people.”
In North Kashmir, around 700 persons have been arrested in four weeks and the raids are on. Most of the arrests have been made in Kupwara, followed by Bandipora and Baramulla districts.
DIG North Kashmir, Uttam Chand said they have arrested 200 people so far. “Some get released, some get arrested and the process is on,” he said. “We are making sure that no innocent is taken to task.”
From Central Kashmir districts of Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal, over 300 persons have so far been arrested. However, police said “some of them have been released.”
The raids by police have forced youth to go into hiding.
“Many wanted youth are still at large as they are not staying with their families,” a senior police official told Greater Kashmir. “They keep shifting from one place to another but efforts are on to nab them as soon as possible.”
In the past 51 days of uprising, more than three dozen people have been slapped with draconian Public Safety Act in Kashmir, but the warrants have not been executed so far. The people, on whom the PSA has been slapped, are mostly activists of pro-freedom groups. “Most of them are at large and that is why warrants have not been executed,” the police official said.