Srinagar, Feb 23: Kashmir is on the edge because of two major happenings since Friday evening keeping its people on toes and the place abuzz with speculations.
The first development was the Government of India (GoI) order of deployment of additional 100 Companies of various paramilitary forces in the valley, following which around 10,000 soldiers of CRPF, ITBP and BSF were airlifted here in matter of a few hours.
A notice from the Home Ministry in New Delhi late on Friday evening led to “100 additional companies of paramilitary soldiers” being airlifted to Srinagar, where the Jammu and Kashmir police and existing government forces worked through the night rolling out their deployment plan for the next few days.
A ‘company’ of soldiers typically consists of between 80 and 150 soldiers.
The fresh deployment, as per the order, includes 45 companies from CRPF, 35 from BSF, and 10 each of the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).
The second major happening that pushed Kashmir into a tizzy was the authorities carrying out a major crackdown on Hurriyat and Jamaat-e-Islami leaders, detaining around 150 people during evening and nocturnal raids on Friday.
Those arrested in nocturnal raids include Jamaat-e-Islami chief Abdul Hamid Fayaz and JKLF Chariman, Yasin Malik.
The police have termed the detentions as routine, saying “Separatists and potential stone-throwers have been arrested in the past as well, as a preventive measure.”
Malik was the first to be arrested by the police from his Maisuma residence in Srinagar. This was followed by dozens of Jamaat-e-Islami separatists, including its chief Abdul Hamid Fayaz being arrested during overnight raids across the Valley.
Malik’s arrest comes ahead of a crucial hearing on Article 35-A in Supreme Court, which is likely to take place on Monday, February 25. The article, incorporated into the Indian Constitution in 1954, grants special rights and privileges to the residents of Jammu and Kashmir.
Former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti criticised the Centre’s move to arrest separatists.
“In the past 24 hours, Hurriyat leaders & workers of Jamaat organisation have been arrested. Fail to understand such an arbitrary move which will only precipitate matters in J&K. Under what legal grounds are their arrests justified? You can imprison a person but not his ideas,” she said.
Separatist-turned-mainstream politician Sajad Gani Lone, who now heads the political party People’s Conference, also cautioned the government by reminding it of a similar “failed model” that was tried in 1990.
“Gov seems to be on an arrest spree. Just a word of caution. Large scale arrests took place in 1990. Leaders were ferried to Jodhpur and many jails across the country. Things worsened. This is a tried tested and failed model. Please desist from it. It won’t work. Things will worsen,” he tweeted.
BSF, ITBP to replace CRPF for static guard duties in Srinagar
Srinagar, Feb 23: Soon after the government of India ordered the deployment of 100 more companies of armed forces in Jammu and Kashmir, the J&K police on Saturday issued an order replacing the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) with the Border Security Force (BSF) and Indo-Tibetan Border Force (ITBF) for static guard duties in Srinagar.
An order issued by the zonal police headquarters, Kashmir said the move to give static duties to BSF and ITBP has been taken to strengthen the law and order grid in Kashmir region.
Various media reports while quoting the police said the move is a practice to place new force as static guard outside as the new force is not well versed with law and order.
In 1990, when militancy erupted in Kashmir BSF had taken over the internal security.
Earlier, the Union Home Ministry in an order said: “We have to urgently deploy CAPFs (central armed police force) in Jammu & Kashmir. It is requested to provide 100 coys of CAPFs (CRPF – 45, BSF-35, SSB-10 & ITBP 10) to Govt of J&K with immediate effect and till further orders. IG (ops), CRPF is requested to ensure immediate movement of forces in coordination with IG (ops) of all forces,” read a Home Ministry letter to the state government, copies of which have been also sent to IG(Ops) to CRPF, BSF, ITBP and SSB.
The moves come a week after a suicide bomber killed 49 CRPF personnel in Pulwama district of south Kashmir.
Kashmir should be dealt with non-partisan manner: CCG
Srinagar, Feb 23: The Concerned Citizens’ Group (CCG), a civil society group led by former union finance minister Yashwant Sinha, Saturday said that any attempt to “leverage” the situation in J&K is “fraught with danger”.
“At a time when the nation is passing through trying circumstances, we appeal that the government must not take any steps which detract from the Constitutional framework of the country or the universally accepted principles of Rule of Law,” the CCG said in a statement to The Kashmir Monitor.
The Group added that it is imperative that no innocent Kashmiri, within J&K or in the rest of India, is made to feel insecure or unsafe.
“In this context recent pronouncements of the Supreme Court have brought much solace. We recognize that militancy is a grave threat to the nation, especially ‘terrorism’ emanating from Pakistan and deserves to be condemned in the strongest terms. The current situation must, therefore, be dealt with in a non-partisan manner. Any attempt to leverage the developments in J&K for electoral purposes is fraught with danger and should be avoided at all costs,” the statement read.