By: Mudasir Ahmad
Srinagar: On Saturday morning, most of the media people in Kashmir Valley were woken-up from their beds by the panic people as the rumours were making rounds that there would be a massive crackdown across Kashmir Valley with Central Government sending 100 more paramilitary companies here by air.
The panic across the Kashmir Valley resulted in spontaneous shutdowns and protests at different places. Security forces were seen being deployed in the old city on early Saturday, adding to the rumours of the crackdown. This resulted in many stone pelting incidents in downtown Srinagar on Saturday. Similarly our reporter from Anantnag said that on Saturday morning all the shops got closed followed heavy protests and stone pelting between youth and government forces. However, the protesters at Anantnag town were raising slogans against the Central Government for their failure to protect and secure the trades and students of Kashmir across the country.
According to the news reports from New Delhi, the Union Government has dispatched 100 additional paramilitary companies to Kashmir Valley, amid rumours of massive crackdown here, resulting in panic buying in the markets, spontaneous shutdowns and stone pelting incidents at various places in Srinagar and Anantnag on Saturday.
As the panic gripped entire Valley, police came out with the statement asking people not to pay heed to the rumours and said that deployment of additional paramilitary companies in Kashmir is the part of exercise undertaken by State Government to hold free and fair polls here. Police further said that they will arrest all the trouble makers including stone pelters to provide some breathing space to the people.
However, in a surprise development on Saturday, Police Zonal Headquarters of Kashmir said that BSF has been redeployed in Srinagar after it was taken off from the anti-militancy operations in Kashmir from the year 2005. The police further said that BSF and ITBP companies would be deployed in various areas of Srinagar city. At 16 sensitive places of Srinagar BSF and ITBP would be deployed to maintain law and order.
During the previous night police and security forces raided many places across Kashmir Valley and arrested top brass of Jamaat-e-Islamic Kashmir including its Ameer Dr. Abdul Hameed Fayaz and JKLF Chief Muhammad Yasin Malik from his Maisuma residence in Srinagar. Police said that over 150 activists of separatists mostly from Jamaat-e-Islami Kashmir were arrested from their homes located in different places.
Jamaat-e-Islami Kashmir in a statement said that hundreds of their activists were arrested during night raids and claimed that it will only add to the prevailing uncertainty in Kashmir. Jamaat said that it seems that Central Government is going to do something fishy especially with the special status of the State and said that people of Kashmir will resist any such move.
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq while condemning such arrests said that more force and intimidation will only prove counter-productive to the Central Government and said that instead of crying war, New Delhi should start serious and urgent dialogue with Pakistan and people of Jammu and Kashmir for permanent peace.
PDP President and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said that all the arrests are unwarranted and arbitrary with no basis to arrest them during night raids. She claimed that police can arrest the persons referring to separatists, but not their ideas.
BJP ally Sajjad Gani Lone has cautioned New Delhi not to revert back to the failed exercise of 1990 when all the separatists and their sympathizers were arrested in Kashmir Valley and dispatched to Jodhpur Jail. He warned Central Government that it will add to the alienation and uncertainty in Kashmir.
By: Mudasir Ahmad