Police Breaks Silence On Motorbike Crackdown

Seizure Of Some Bikes, Internet Shutdown Related To Terror Violence: IGP

Srinagar: As crackdown on bikers continued for the third straight day in this capital city, Police on Thursday defended its action saying that the seizure of some bikes and shutting down of internet in some areas was purely related to militancy and has nothing to do with the visit of Home Minister Amit Shah to Jammu and Kashmir.

“Seizing some bikes and shutting down of internet of some towers is purely related to #terror #violences. It has nothing to do with visit of the Hon’ble HM,” Kashmir Police quoted IGP Kashmir, Vijay Kumar as saying.

Even though the J&K Police has a regular social media presence and tweets about almost all of its activities on a daily basis, it remained tight-lipped for two days on providing any plausible reason behind the crackdown on two-wheelers before breaking the silence on the third day.

Notably, the crackdown on the two-wheelers has also coincided with the three-day scheduled visit of Home Minister, Amit Shah to the Valley, starting on October 23. In the same issue, huge deployment on the roads, increased frisking of passersby, surprise stopping and checking of vehicles was seen.
But apparently, the crackdown on bikes in the valley has dismayed a huge number of civilians that have termed this overnight crackdown by Police as 'absurd'.

"I'd all the necessary documents on me but I was still stopped by the cops and asked to park my bikes inside the Police station." Manpreet Singh, a non-local carpenter told Kashmir Observer.

"I've nothing to do with the recent killings nor am I interested in any violence, then why am I being made to pay for someone else's crime? I've come all the way from Punjab to earn a living for my people but the police here are creating hurdles for us to live a normal life by coming up with this nonsense crackdown here in Kashmir," he added.

It is pertinent to mention here that police's crackdown came into action on Monday when they started confiscating hundreds of bikes at various locations in the Srinagar city and since then, the crackdown has been going on for three consecutive days.

"I was stopped in the middle of the road and without even checking my documents; I was forced to park my scooty inside the Police station premises."

Shah Ibtisam, who has been waiting outside the Ram Munshi Bagh PS since noon, told Kashmir Observer. "What is my fault? I've all the necessary documents but without even checking them, the police declared us 'Criminal'. Is this what law permits them to do? This is gross injustice."

He further added, " There are more than a hundred people waiting outside the Police station but none from the police is willing to resolve our queries but rather they're trying to increase our problems by not allowing us to even explain ourselves."

The ongoing crackdown has not only created a sense of panic and anger among bikers but has also hampered the normal functioning of small scale businesses in the city.

Talking to Kashmir Observer, an owner of a delivery service said that Police's "absurd" action against bikers has cost many people their daily wages.

"Since Tuesday, dozens of my delivery agents have called and complained that the police are confiscating their bikes without any specific reasons." Qazi Amaan said

"These bikes are how these guys earn a living and feed their families. The police should understand that by confiscating their bikes, they're not only augmenting our losses but also creating financial issues for these delivery agents."

He further added that if none of these bikers had any role in the recent targeted killings then why are they being made to suffer. "If this police crackdown continues, these delivery agents will have to quit their jobs and look for something else that doesn't require a bike."

"I was stopped by cops and immediately without even looking at my papers, they seized my bike without providing any reason," said Kashmir Observer staffer, Irfan Dar

"When I asked them to provide any specific reason behind this, they replied this is an order and asked me to come with them to Maisuma Police Station."

According to the eyewitnesses, the crackdown on bikes, continued for the third day in the jurisdiction of several police stations in the city including Kral Khud, Maisuma, Foreshore Road, Nishat, Barzulla, Rajbagh, Mehjoor Nagar, Rambagh, TRC and Sonwar.

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Zaid Bin Shabir

Zaid Bin Shabir is a special correspondent at Kashmir Observer. He tweets @Zaidbinshabir

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