Multiple raids were conducted in south Kashmir to arrest JeI’s leadership; Mehbooba questions clampdown
Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief Yasin Malik and socio-religious group Jamaat-e-Islami’s (JeI) 30 members, including the top leadership, were arrested after a night-long clampdown in Kashmir on Saturday.
Security agencies started the operation on Friday night when they arrested Malik from his residence at Maisuma around 11 p.m. He was shifted to a local police station.
An official said multiple raids were conducted in south Kashmir to arrest JeI’s leadership.
“Forces agencies launched a mass arrest drive on Friday night and dozens of central and district level leaders have been arrested,” said a JeI statement.
Those arrested included JeI chief Dr. Abdul Hamid Fayaz, spokesman advocate Zahid Ali, former secretary general Ghulam Qadir Lone and Anantnag head Abdur Rouf. The organisation has around 5,000 members in the State.
“Any attempt of eroding or tempering Article 35(A) is unacceptable for the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” it added.
Former Chief Minister and People's Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti questioned the government’s move. “In the past 24 hours, Hurriyat leaders and workers of Jamaat organisation have been arrested. I fail to understand such an arbitrary move, which will only precipitate matters in J&K. Under what legal grounds are their arrests justified? You can imprison a person but not his ideas,” she tweeted.
100 companies sought for Valley
In the run up of the parliament and Assembly elections, the Union Home Ministry has sought 100 companies of the security forces for J&K.
The 100 companies included 45 companies of CRPF, 35 companies of the Border Security Forces, 20 of the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and 10 of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).
The fresh deployment also comes ahead of the hearing on Article 35A in the Supreme Court, likely on Monday.
According to the police, the additional forces were called for election purposes, while the arrests of some leaders and activists were a move to prevent any disturbance during the election process.
An election commission team would be arriving in Kashmir on March 5 to assess the situation and to take a call on holding polls. “We took some measures to ensure peaceful elections,” said the police.
Jammu and Kashmir is now under President's rule. The PDP-BJP government fell apart in June last year.
Meanwhile, clashes broke out in Anantnag where youth clashed with security forces. The clashes impacted traffic on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway