Srinagar: In a major offensive against the mass uprising in Kashmir, the state government is contemplating “biggest ever” crackdown in the summer capital of Srinagar, while around 500 youth are feared to be arrested, Kashmir Observer learnt from reliable sources.
The crackdown, likely to be executed jointly by the state police and the paramilitary CRPF, will be launched after the closure of Durbar move offices here.
While the Durbar offices are scheduled to close here in the last week of October, sources said the “offensive against wanted stone-pelters” will be started in the first week of November, when Civil Secretariat will reopen in Jammu.
Official sources said though the government was desperate to arrest the “wanted youth as early as possible”, the crackdown is being deliberately delayed for the “convenience of the VIPs.”
“Once major arrests are made, there are apprehensions of dharnas on the VIP routes leading to Civil Secretariat and the Airport… But as presently such roadside protests could lead inconvenience in the VIP movement, the plan is being deferred till the seat of governance is shifted to Jammu,” the sources said.
They said Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who is also the Home Minister has given a go ahead to the state police for the crackdown.
Sources said the Chief Minister was apprised about the need for “mass arrest of wanted stone pelters” during a review meeting, she chaired. Apart from Mehbooba, some of her Cabinet colleagues were also present in the meeting.
Sources said after the meeting, Mehbooba discussed the matter with her “Super Cabinet”, which is believed to be comprising of her close aides including one cabinet minister, who is also a former official, a MLA from Srinagar, an official, and a former cop close to the PDP.
Sources said the “Super Cabinet” which mainly meets at Mehbooba’s residence for a closed-door meeting unanimously decided to give a “go ahead to the crackdown.”
Sources said the police have been asked not to come under influence but “weed out the menace of the stone pelting for restoration of normalcy.”
Officials said the focus of this crackdown would be civil lines. Pleading that siege and raids continue in the volatile old City, the officials said civil lines largely remained immune to raids only because any public reaction to arrests could affect VIP movement in areas like Dalgate, Lal Chowk, Sonawar, Batamaloo, Bemina, Teng Pora and residential localities along the Airport Road.
Police have already arrested more than 9000 people, mainly youth, since July 8, when militant commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani and his two colleagues were killed. Another over, 5,000 youth are wanted in 23,00 FIRs registered in police stations of Kashmir, during this period.
While most of the wanted happen to students, Education Minister Naeem Akhter has already asked the state police to make arrangements for holding of exams in jails.
As per news reports Director General of Police, Law and Order, SP Vaid said Education Minister has sought the figures of jailed students. Akhtar, as per the DGP, has asked police to arrange examination centres for the jailed students.
“Education is important, so are the arrests for restoration of normalcy,” said a PDP leader.
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.