Major crackdown against separatists in Kashmir

During the intervening night of February 22 and 23, police arrested pro-independence JKLF chief Yasin Malik, chief of Jama’at-e-Islami (JeI), a politico-religious organisation, and dozens of other middle rung separatist leaders. (File Photo)

Ahead of the Supreme Court hearing on Article 35A, authorities in Kashmir have launched a massive crackdown against separatists while the Center has called for an urgent deployment of hundred more companies of central armed forces in the Valley.

The hearing is likely to take place next week.

“We have to urgently deploy CAPFs in Jammu & Kashmir. It is requested to provide 100 coys of CAPFs (CRPF – 45, BSF-35, SSB-10 & ITBP 10) to the government of J&K with immediate effect and till further orders,” reads a letter by the ministry of home affairs to the state government.

Copies of the letter have been also sent to IG (Ops) of CRPF, BSF, ITBP and SSB.

“IG (ops), CRPF is requested to ensure immediate movement of forces in coordination with IG (ops) of all forces,” the letter further reads.

The crackdown on separatists and the massive deployment of forces has sent Kashmir into a tizzy with people speculating that Article 35A, which grants special rights and privileges to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, may be scrapped.

During the intervening night of February 22 and 23, police arrested pro-independence JKLF chief Yasin Malik, chief of Jama’at-e-Islami (JeI), a politico-religious organisation, and dozens of other middle rung separatist leaders.

In a statement, a Jama’at spokesman said that the police and other forces launched a “mass arrest drive” and detained dozens of its central and district-level leaders.

“Article 35A is being heard within days and the way forces personnel unleashed the spree of mass arrest and detained dozens of Jama’at members prior to the hearing seems something is hatching behind the curtains,” he said, adding: “Any attempt of eroding or tempering Article 35A is unacceptable to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.”

The latest developments come two days after the security to 18 separatist leaders, including moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, and more than 150 others, was withdrawn by the state.

The state government had argued that this would make an additional 1,000 men available for routine police work.

“Some elements in Jammu and Kashmir have links with the ISI (in Pakistan) and terrorist organisations. Their security should be reviewed,” Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had said during his visit to the Valley after the dastardly terror attack by Jaishe-e-Mohammad terrorists in southern Pulwama which killed 49 CRPF men on February 14.

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Major crackdown against separatists in Kashmir

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