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Now ‘revolving-door’ arrests in Kashmir

Brief respite: Vehicles seen plying on the streets of Srinagar after restrictions were eased on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: Nissar Ahmad

The Jammu and Kashmir police have adopted a novel approach involving “revolving-door arrests” to contain the situation on the streets in the wake of withdrawal of the State’s special status on August 5.

According to data with the police headquarters (PHQ) in Srinagar, around 1,500 youth have been picked up and released under a continuous process across the Kashmir Valley in the past few weeks. This comes amid rising incidents of stone throwing after Id.

Political leaders

According to the official figures, accessed by The Hindu, 1,185 people, including the mainstream leaders of the National Conference (NC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Peoples Conference (PC), remain permanently detained since August 5. A total of 3,200 persons were arrested in the first three weeks, the official figures show.

However, 1,500 youth, whom the police rounded up during raids and street scuffles for disturbing the law and order situation in the Valley, were held under the “revolving door mechanism”.

“Besides the permanent detentions, scores of youth were detained from a period of one day to two weeks at maximum. Such daily arrests and release from detentions are a continuous process,” a top police officer told The Hindu. The reason for the “revolving door” method, according to the police, was also “poor space in the Valley’s jails ”, despite shifting several persons, including detained militants, to Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi.

J&K government spokesperson Rohit Kansal has refused to give out any official figures on detention, saying “there were no centralised figures on arrests and the local officers deal with the situation locally”.

Akram Khan (name changed), a resident of Soura, said he was arrested on his way home after evening prayers when clashes broke out in his area in the third week of August.

Daily detentions

Mr. Khan, who returned to Kashmir to set up his own business four years ago, said he is now among dozens of youth in daytime detention, with no formal FIRs.

“He is directed to report to the Soura police station in the morning and leave it by 7 p.m. This was done because his family and he were able to establish that he had no role in any clashes,” his close relative told The Hindu. “It’s not just him but the whole family is dragged into a situation. It is a living hell on a daily basis,” he added.

 

Around 40 local youths are being held in the Soura police station, which saw major demonstrations in second week of August.

In contrast to the government claims on the receding trend in stone-throwing incidents since August 5, official figures suggested it was “uneven and on days touch new levels”.

According to the police headquarters figures, August 19 and August 26 were the only days when the number of stone-throwing incidents came down to eight and 12, respectively. The number peaked on August 20 when 40 such incidents were reported in Srinagar alone.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2021 1:13:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/now-revolving-door-arrests-in-kashmir/article29310428.ece

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