Anantnag: Ahead of the scheduled municipal polls in Shopian and Pulwama districts, police have arrested more than 60 youths in night raids conducted over the past two-three days.
Police sources said that some of the arrests have been made due to the upcoming polls while others who have been arrested are Over Ground Workers (OGWs) of militants.
As per reports, the police conducted nocturnal raids in different areas of Shopian district, including Heff, Kundalan, Wuyen, Imam Sahib, and Pahnoo, in the past couple of days and rounded up more than 40 youths.
SSP Shopian Sandeep Chaudhry did not answer repeated calls by this reporter, but a senior official in the district confirmed the arrests.
“The arrests have been made to conduct smooth elections,” the official said.
Municipal polls are scheduled for October 13 in most areas of south Kashmir, where only four of the 20 municipalities will go to polls as very few, and in many cases single, nominations have been filed.
Many of the candidates will be elected unopposed in the region.
In neighbouring Pulwama district, more than 20 youths have been arrested in the past three days in nocturnal raids conducted by police in many villages.
As per reports, raids were conducted in Murran, Karimabad, Tahab, main town Pulwama, and some other areas of the district to make these arrests.
A senior police official from the district confirmed that police have made several arrests. “Not all of them have been arrested in wake of the elections. Some are OGWs and have been picked up in cases already registered against them,” the police official said, requesting anonymity.
The authorities have already snapped high-speed internet services in the two districts. On Wednesday evening, 2G services were restored in these districts after more than 10 days.
Meanwhile, a complete shutdown was today observed in Tral town of Pulwama district against the arrest and booking under the draconian Public Safety Act (PSA) of a local shopkeeper.
The shopkeeper has been identified as Hilal Ahmad Dhobi. He was arrested a few days back and was on Wednesday booked under the PSA.
The shopkeepers, demanding immediate release of Dhobi, kept their shutters down for the entire day today.
Schools, colleges, offices and other places of work remained closed as well in the area. There were, however, no reports of any violence.