J&K launches crackdown on separatists, arrests 150 people

PTI
Sunday, 24 February 2019

The Jamaat issued a statement condemning the detentions and said, “...the move is a well-designed conspiracy to pave way for further uncertainty in the region.”

SRINAGAR: Tension mounted in Kashmir on Saturday as the government launched a massive crackdown on separatists and detained over 150 people, mainly from the Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir, including its chief Abdul Hamid Fayaz, ahead of a hearing in the Supreme Court on Article 35-A of the Constitution.

Though police termed the action as routine saying that leaders and potential stone pelters have been picked up in the past, officials privy to the development said this was the first major crackdown on the Jamaat-e-Islami.

The hearing on Article 35A, which provides special rights and privileges to natives of Jammu and Kashmir, is likely to take place in the apex court on Monday.

The Jamaat-e-Islami has in the past been touted to be the parent political party of the Hizbul Mujahideen, but the organisation has always maintained that it is a socio-religious group.

The Jamaat issued a statement condemning the detentions and said, “...the move is a well-designed conspiracy to pave way for further uncertainty in the region.”

The party claimed that during the intervening night of February 22 and 23, police and other agencies launched a mass arrest drive and raided many houses in the valley, wherein dozens of its central and district-level leaders were arrested, including its Ameer (chief) Abdul Hamid Fayaz and spokesperson, advocate Zahid Ali.

The Jamaat termed the raids as “fishy” at a time when the Supreme Court is to hear a petition regarding Article 35A of the Constitution.

“The way forces personnel unleashed the spree of mass arrest and detained dozens of Jamaat members prior to the hearing seems something is hatching behind the curtains...,” it said.

Besides this, police also detained JKLF chief Yaseen Malik on Friday night and lodged him in central jail.

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