Jammu: The Lashkar-e-Taiba’s threat to the Baramulla SHO after 44 people were arrested for terror-related activities shows the massive impact of the state government’s biggest crackdown in the Valley in recent times.
As the unrest in Kashmir following the death of Hizb-ul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on July 8 enters 103rd day, the police have arrested more than 100 people in different parts of Kashmir in the last 24 hours. In other words, at least four people have been arrested by the state police every hour.
Going by some official figures, at least 446 people have been arrested across Jammu and Kashmir in a week till Monday.
Given the numbers and the intensity of the crackdown, many are calling it the biggest in the state’s volatile history. Sources put the total number of arrests in the state anywhere between 5,000-7,000 in the last three months.
Records suggest that hundreds of people have been booked under the stringent Public Safety Act. Some put the number close to 450 which is the highest the Valley ever recorded. Under the act, an individual can be detained for a maximum of two years without a court order.
South Kashmir, which has been the nerve centre of the protests, has seen the biggest crackdown in the state. In the four districts of Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian and Pulwama, neraly 1,800 people have been arrested and another 500 detained under preventive detention.
Central and north Kashmir too have witnessed major crackdown the police. Baramulla, a relatively calm district, saw a massive search operation launched by the police and the army across the district before 44 people was arrested on Monday. According to the locals, more than 700 houses were searched by the army, the police, the Border Security Force and the Central Reserve Police Force.
“Large quantity of incriminating material such as petrol bombs, Chinese and Pakistan flags, LeT and JeM letter head pads, unauthorised mobile phones and seditious anti-national publicity material were seized during the raids,” an official statement read.
The crackdown has got the Opposition, mainly the National Conference (NC), furious. Taking a dig at the Mehbooba Mufti government’s campaign to promote tourism, Omar Abdullah had tweeted: “I’m all for promoting tourism in to the valley but at a time when 90 people have died, 10,000+ injured, scores blinded it’s out of place”.
The former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir accused the Mufti government of disrupting the normal life of the people in the state. “It’s ridiculous that kids haven’t seen the inside of school for 3 months & the CM wants tourists to forget the turmoil & come visiting,” Abdullah had tweeted.
Mufti after attending a high-level meeting in New Delhi in August to discuss the Kashmir unrest had said Central government needs to initiate dialogue with the locals. “There is a need to apply balm to the wounds of the Kashmiri people. These are our own people. If a dialogue can improve the situation in the Valley, we should do it,” Mufti had said.