Srinagar: As if the chronic siege of Kashmir since July 8 was not enough, the police and paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force(CRPF) have started nocturnal raids to apprehend youth furthering widespread protests across the restive Valley.
In the last two days, the government forces raided over two dozen residential areas across Kashmir, particularly the summer capital of Srinagar, which witnessed a sudden surge in street protests since July 27, when curfew was relaxed for a few hours in the congested old City, the Shahr-e-Khaas here.
The raids start at around midnight and last till predawn, pushing the inhabitants including elderly and children to sleepless nights.
The besieged people apprehend that the government wants to detain youth as a part of a game plan to crush street protests against government atrocities. The protesting people said the government was forcing them to stage protests and to make them spend sleepless nights on the roads.
The protesters said given the terror unleashed by the police and CRPF in the ongoing unrest, they find no options but to resist the arrest spree.
The moment raids start, the aggrieved locals said they rush to nearby Masjid and make announcements from the public loudspeakers asking the inhabitants to come out on the streets for the protests.
The protesters, who were voicing pro-freedom slogans, said police parties which undertake raids were equipped with the detailed list of locality youth and hunt for them from house-to-house while household was being ransacked by the bullish cops. We saw the policemen carrying a list of names of all the locality youth, said protesters in Chattabbal locality here.
How can we sleep when the government is hell bent to nab our children? Having failed to prevent civilian causalities, Mehbooba Muftis government is using iron hand to crush the public sentiments. She is only adding salts to our wounds, said protesters said.
The residents of Batamalo said a police party raided their locality looking for area youth. The residents accused the concerned DSP, who has been accused of a murder of a Tenpora youth in the past days of unrest, of being largely responsible for the brutalities.
Instead of filing case against the DSP in compliance to the court orders, the government has given this police official unbridled powers to unleash terror on the area locals, the protesters said.
Similar reports poured in from Nowhatta, Khanyar, Gojwara, Noor Bagh, Teng Pora, Qamarwari and Humhama areas of the City where police is active conducting midnight raids.
While this is the scene in the summer capital, similar reports poured in from other districts.
The residents of Palhallan Pattan said police has unleashed the reign of terror in the village. During daytime they raid the area to fire pellet guns which have already left scores of youth wounded while many even lost eyesight. Now the nocturnal raids are designed to even snatch peace of mind during sleep at night, the inhabitants said.
A police official while downplaying the matter said the youth who resort to stone pelting were being taken into preventive custody till situation improves. We are trying to restore normalcy so people to cooperate with us, he said.