Art 35-A hearing: Major crackdown on Jamaat-e-Islami
Srinagar, Feb 23: Nearly 150 people, mainly from the Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) Jammu and Kashmir including its chief Abdul Hamid Fayaz, were detained during the intervening night of Friday and Saturday as tension gripped the Valley ahead of a hearing by the Supreme Court on Article 35A of the Constitution.
Though police termed the detentions as “routine” saying that leaders and “potential stone pelters” have been picked up in the past, the officials privy to the developments said this is the first major crackdown on the Jamaat-e-Islami.
The hearing on Article 35A, which provides special rights and privileges to natives of Jammu and Kashmir, is likely to take place in the apex court on Monday.
In a statement, a JeI spokesman said the police and other forces launched a “mass arrest drive” during the intervening night of February 22 and 23 and arrested dozens of its central and district-level leaders.
“Those detained include Ameer Jama’at Dr Abdul Hamid Fayaz, Advocate Zahid Ali (Spokesperson), Ghulam Qadir Lone (Former Secretary General), Abdur Rouf (Ameer Zila Islamabad), Mudasir Ahmad (Ameer Tehsil Pahalgam), Abdul Salam (Dialgam), Bakhtawar Ahmad (Dialgam), Mohammad Amin Wani (Tral), Bilal Ahmad (Chadoora), Ghulam Mohammad Dar (Chak Sangran) and dozens more,” said the spokesman.
Condemning the detentions, he said the move seems a “well designed ploy and that there was something fishy when the state’s special position is listed in Supreme Court.
“Article 35(A) which grants special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, is being heard within days and the way forces personnel unleashed the spree of mass arrest and detained dozens of Jama’at members prior to the hearing seems something is hatching behind the curtains,” said the spokesman, adding: “Any attempt of eroding or tempering Article 35(A) is unacceptable for people of Jammu and Kashmir.”
Mudasir Wani, a Tral resident said that his father who suffers from multiple ailments was detained shortly after midnight.
“Around 12:30am, they (forces) entered our lawn by climbing the walls and knocked at the windows of the house. In this chilling cold night they requested my father to accompany them to the camp. We pleaded that he will come to the army camp in the morning himself. The person in command argued ‘meri bhi naukri hai’. However, he suggested him to wear warm clothes and I added to take along medicine of diabetes, hypertension, heart and thyroid. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find medicine for heart,” said Wani, a son of Muhammad Amin of Tral.
Several Jamaat members including Dr Wasil, Nazir Ahmad khan, Adv Qazi Syed Irfan, Abdul Majid Dar, Khazir Mohd Khuroo and Abdul Khaliq Regoo were detained in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.
The family of Khazir Mohd Khuroo said that the police party raided their house at night and detained Khuroo even as the family was mourning death of his son-in-law, who had passed away just few days back.
Two Hurriyat activists namely Mushtaq Ahmed Wani son of Muhammad Sultan of Nadihal and Tariq Ahmad Shiekh, son of Ghulam Nabi resident of Arin were detained from their residences in Bandipora.
The district chief of Jama’at-e-Islami Ganderbal Ghulam Mohammed War and several other executive members were detained from the central Kashmir district.
The arrest of the Jama’at leaders and JKLF chief Yasin Malik have led to a partial shutdown in the commercial hub of Lal Chowk and the adjacent areas.
Palpable tension was in the air and people were seen grouping at streets even as security had been tightened.
As many as 100 additional companies of the paramilitary (nearly 10,000 personnel) have been sent to the Kashmir
Valley in the wake of a potential law and order situation.
Officially no one has been able to provide reasons for such a massive deployment.