Police Launch Crackdown on Youth in Kashmir

Srinagar, Aug 9: Police have launched a crackdown against youth in parts of Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian administered Kashmir and have arrested more than 30 youth during raids so far. A senior police official said the arrests will continue till all protestors involved in stone pelting are taken to task.

Police have launched a crackdown against youth in Nowhatta, Gojwara, Jamia Masjid, Bohri Kadal and adjoining areas in old city and Maisuma and Batamaloo areas in uptown Srinagar after clashes broke out between youth and police and paramilitary personnel last Friday.

Since then police have picked up dozens of youth and charged them of indulging in stone pelting. “On Friday and Saturday, more than 13 youth were arrested by police,” the locals alleged.

“The arrests will continue until all protesters involved in stone-pelting and organisers are arrested,” a top police officer said.

He said 18 protesters were arrested last night from different parts of Srinagar while nearly a dozen protesters were arrested during similar raids on Sunday night in the old city.

He said the police are trying to identify the stone throwers from the video footage of the protests that resurfaced last week.

Srinagar’s old city and uptown’s Maisuma area have remained comparatively calm since October last year before the latest round of protests broke out on last Friday against the death of a 26-year-old Sopore youth in police custody.

“We will arrest the last of the stone pelter,” another senior police officer said.

The residents of old city areas and uptown Srinagar have alleged that a large number of youth have been arrested by police. “The crackdown has caused fear among the youth with many leaving their homes and putting up with their relatives elsewhere,” they said.

Fayaz Wani reports on life in Srinagar, Kashmir.