SRINAGAR: In an attempt to end street protests in Kashmir, police arrested nearly 500 youth in the Valley. Police sources said a crackdown has been launched against youth indulging in stone pelting.
“We have made a list of stone pelters after identifying them through video footage. The police is conducting raids to arrest them,” they said.
At least 53 people including two policemen have been killed, and over 3,500 civilians and 3,000 security personnel injured in the ongoing unrest triggered by the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on July 8.
“In its continuous drive against hooligans and miscreants, police have arrested 349 accused persons from across the Valley,” a police spokesman said. He said 122 more were detained under prohibitory provisions of law. In the coming days, more would be arrested to maintain law and order in the Valley, police said.
Police have already placed top separatist leaders including hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani and moderate leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq under house arrest while a dozen others including Mohammad Yasin Malik and Shabir Shah have been detained. The separatist leaders, who are spearheading the ongoing agitation in Kashmir, on Thursday extended the strike call in the Valley to August 12. Mobile internet and train services have remained suspended in the Valley since July 9 when the protests erupted. The education institutions have also remained closed since then.
Anti-India demonstrations were held at various places across the State on Thursday. Sources said about 20 people, including five girls, were injured during the clashes in North Kashmir’s Kupwara district.
In a related development, the Army’s Northern command chief Lt Gen DS Hooda visited Kashmir and met J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti. He urged troops to continue exercising maximum restraint in dealing with the protestors and sensitise people, especially the youth, to eschew violence to usher in peace.
Meanwhile, the authorities had placed independent MLA Er Sheikh Abdur Rashid under house arrest in Srinagar on Wednesday evening to prevent him from marching towards the Srinagar UN office on Thursday.