Srinagar: The police on Wednesday said that 461 persons have been taken into custody in Kashmir Valley in the past few days as part of a “continuous drive against hooligans and miscreants”. Of these, 349 persons have been arrested on formal charges and 122 others have been detained under prohibitory provisions of the law.
Sources said that people having affiliation with pro-freedom groups and former militants have been detained in police stations across the Valley.
In Baramulla, youth in many parts of the district have started patrolling during nights to guard against night raids by police who have taken to entering homes at night to pick up youth on charges of stone-pelting.
Youths have also blocked roads by placing wooden logs and large stones to prevent police vehicles from entering residential areas.
Teams keep a watch by turn and as soon as any movement of police is witnessed, an announcement is made through masjid loudspeakers. People, including women, then come rushing out of their houses and shout pro-freedom and anti-India slogans to let the police know they are not afraid of them.
People in Baramulla say that police have arrested more than a hundred youths in the past few days.
In old Baramulla town, youths block all the four bridges that connect the old town with the new as soon as police and paramilitary deployments are withdrawn in the evening. Then they sit upon the barricades, which serves a twin purpose: to keep watch against police, and to allow vehicles with patients or essential supplies to pass.
In Fatehgarg area, people in large numbers have been holding protests in the night for the past ten days. Slogans like “We want freedom” are shouted to keep people awake.
Sources said that police have prepared a list of more than a thousand youths in north Kashmir districts, mainly in Baramulla and Kupwara, with the plan of arresting them.
A police statement issued in Srinagar on Wednesday evening said that 15 incidents of stone-pelting were reported in the day, from Srinagar, Kulgam, Sopore, Shopian, Ganderbal, Bandipora, Budgam and Awantipora. The statement said that 12 persons and 40 police and security force personnel were injured in these incidents.
The police said that curfew/restrictions were put in place in some police stations of Srinagar, Anantnag town, Bongam in Shopian, Khanpora in Baramulla, Awantipora and Pampora towns on Wednesday.