• Wednesday, Feb 01, 2023
  • Last Update : 08:54 am

India toughens crackdown on Kashmir: More detained, movement curbed

  • Published at 11:56 am February 24th, 2019
Security forces patrol in Karan Nagar area, near Srinagar in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir on February 23, 2019. - Indian authorities arrested dozens of Muslim leaders in raids across Kashmir and sent thousands of reinforcements to the troubled territory on February 23 as Prime Minister Narendra Modi stepped up warnings to Pakistan over a suicide bomb attack AFP

The authorities have also been detaining JeM militants, sympathizers and relatives since the attack

Indian troops and police have detained more than 160 separatist leaders and activists, mainly from the Islamist party Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI), in two successive nights of raids in disputed Kashmir, and placed new curbs on people's movements.

The clampdown in towns and villages follows a suicide car bombing that killed 40 Indian paramilitary police in a military convoy on February 14 claimed by another group, the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).

Police say they are rounding up separatists to head off trouble ahead of a general election that must be held by May.

Authorities overnight detained 60 more people from the Jamaat-e-Islami, besides more than 100 held the previous night, said a senior police officer who asked not to be identified.

"Since JeI has a wider network across Kashmir and they are mobilising anti-India protests, their arrest could help in curbing such protests ahead of elections," he told Reuters.

The authorities have also been detaining JeM militants, sympathizers and relatives since the attack.

Separatists called for a strike to protest against the detentions and the crackdown. In response, many shops, petrol stations, and businesses closed, with fewer people and vehicles on streets in sensitive areas, except for troop patrols.

In some areas of the main city of Srinagar, the government clamped down on the movement of people and vehicles.

"The restrictions have been imposed as a precautionary measure to avoid any untoward incident," police said in a statement.

Raises tension with Pakistan

Indian paramilitary troops in riot gear arrived in strength at first light, said Shakeel Ahmad, a resident of Nowhatta in the Srinagar district.

"At places, they have blocked the main roads with steel barricades and concertina wire," he said.

Separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who chairs the region's Hurriyat Conference, said arbitrary arrests and jailing of leaders, activists and young people for their political beliefs has happened across Kashmir for 30 years.

"Intimidating activists and leadership will not deter them from their path, nor will it stop people from demanding the resolution of the Kashmir dispute through self-determination," he said.

Those detained include JeI's leader, Abdul Hamid Fayaz, and Yasin Malik, the head of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front that also wants independence.

Reuters' telephone calls to the Indian home ministry's media and communications department and Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s residence to seek comment went unanswered.

The attack has raised tension between the nuclear-armed neighbours that both claim Kashmir in full but rule it in part. India blames Pakistan for harbouring militant groups operating in Kashmir, which Pakistan denies.

After the attack, India dropped trade privileges for Pakistan, and is preparing to send as many as 10,000 more troops to the contested area, according to a home ministry letter seen by Reuters.

Kashmir is likely to be a key election issue, distracting from concerns about how Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party have managed the economy.

Modi has promised a strong response to the attack, saying in a monthly radio broadcast on Sunday that it had caused anguish to victims' families and all of India.

"This attack has filled us with angst and pain and these emotions are shared by the people of the world and those who believe in humanity," Modi said, adding that the resolve to wipe out terrorism requires Indians to sink their differences.

"Within 100 hours of the attack, our soldiers have given them a befitting reply," Modi said, adding that the army had vowed to destroy the militants and those who helped them.

Islamabad has warned it would respond with "full force" if attacked.

India's Supreme Court will hear a case next week seeking to drop a constitutional provision that bars non-residents from moving to the state of Jammu and Kashmir that encompasses the Muslim-majority region.

If passed, it could further escalate tension there. 

Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail