Arrest spree sparks protests in South Kashmir

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Unending Wait For Parents Outside Police Stations 

Anantnag: Amid shutdown and protests in some parts of South Kashmir’s Anantnag town, family members were seen standing outside different police stations of the town waiting for the release of their beloved ones who have been picked up by police on charges of stone-pelting from past week.

The township had first erupted last Sunday over the murder of a Kashmiri trucker from Betingo, Zahid Rasool Bhat, who had been attacked with a petrol bomb by a Hindu mob in Udhampur district of Jammu on October 9. Locals hailing from different parts of town informed CNS that more than 40 youth have been arrested by police during nocturnal raids from past two to three days and they have been lodged in different police stations.

 Reports said that to ensure their release family members of these arrested youth mostly females were seen waiting outside different police stations of the town including General Bus Stand, Saddar, Achabal, Janglat Mandi and Sherbagh. “Policeman on the gate is not allowing me to enter into police station. My son is in lock up and I want to meet him,” an anxious mother from Kadipora, who along with other people was waiting outside police station Saddar told CNS. 

Scores of women assembled at Lal Chowk during morning hours to protest against the random arrests of youth in the town. They were joined by youth who blocked the road resulting in the disruption of vehicular movement. The protesters raised anti-police and anti-governmetn slogans. Reports said that scores of areas in the town including Lal Chowk, Mattan Chowk, Cheni Chowk, Reshi Bazar, Kadipora, Court Road and Dangar Pora observed a complete shutdown against the arrest spree. All the shops and business establishments remained shut in these areas. People demanded an immediate halt on nocturnal raids and arrests of youth. They said that they will continue to protest till all the youth are not released. “We are even allowed to stage a peaceful protest. We protested against the murder of a young boy and in response the police have been harassing us and arresting us,” said a group of youth present at Lal Chowk.

When contacted a top police official told CNS that arrested youth will be released after proper counseling. He said that ‘hard core’ stone-pelters will be booked under desired sections of law. 

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