Nocturnal arrests, additional paramilitary deployment create panic in Kashmir

Srinagar: Panic gripped Kashmir Saturday as speculations remained rife throughout the day about the possible motives behind the Centre’s decision to “immediately” deploy an additional 100 companies of paramilitary forces in the region amid the nocturnal arrests of over 130 people including JKLF chairman Yasin Malik and top Jamaat-e-Islami leaders.

The deployment and what some Indian media reports referred to as “widespread crackdown” on resistance leaders and activists led to speculations that the deployment was linked to the upcoming Supreme Court hearing on Article 35A.

Social media and conversations among people were abuzz with the possibility of India carrying out “aerial strikes against Pakistan “in wake of reports of helicopters and fighter jets hovering in Kashmir last night.

Students and businessmen belonging to far-flung areas were seen leaving their rented accommodations for their homes.

Reports said that more than 130 people most of the JeI leaders including chief Abdul Hamid Fayaz besides JKLF Chief Yasin Malik were held during night raids on Friday.

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The moves comes amid a home ministry order to rush 100 more paramilitary forces to Kashmir.

“We have to urgently deploy CAPFs 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.

“Today morning soon I opened shop in Goni Khan I saw different atmosphere, some were talking about plans to scrap Art 35 A, while some were talking about India preparing to attack Pakistan,” Mushtaq Ahmad Bhat, who runs a cosmetic shop at Goni-Khan said.

Adil Ahmad, who is preparing for entrance examination while coming out from a coaching center in Paraypora said that there was chaos in the classroom and in the entire area since today morning

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“And keeping in view the prevailing uncertainty, all the students from far off places were called home by their parents,” he said.

Long queues were seen outside petrol pumps and ATMs. Manzoor Ahmad, a biker who was standing in a long queue at a local petrol pump at Batmaloo told GNS that “something bad was going to happen.” (GNS)