• JKLF Chairman, 150 Jamaat workers including Ameer, SM chief detained
• Restriction in downtown today
Tension gripped Kashmir following a nocturnal crackdown on Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI), a politico-religious organisation, on Saturday while police has decided to enforce restrictions in parts of Srinagar tomorrow in view of strike called by Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL).
A JeI spokesman said Jamaat’s Ameer Dr Abdul Hamid Fayaz was among around 150 leaders and activists of the organisation detained by police in series of raids across the valley during the night.
JKLF Chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik, Salvation Movement Chairman Zaffar Akber were also detained while senior Hurriyat leader Abdul Gani Bhat was placed under house arrest in Srinagar.
The crackdown triggered tension as many people linked the detentions with the ongoing uncertainty among India and Pakistan in the aftermath of Pulwama Fidyeen attack and hearing of pleas challenging validity of Article 35A by Supreme Court.
A JeI spokesman condemned the arrest of its leaders and activists.
He termed the move a “well designed conspiracy to pave way for further uncertainty in the region”.
Besides Fayaz, JeI named other detained leaders and members as spokesman Advocate Zahid Ali, former secretary general Ghulam Qadir Lone, district head Anantnag Abdur Rouf, tehsil head Pahalgam Mudasir Ahmad, Abdul Salam, Bakhtawar Ahmad both of Dialgam , Mohammad Hayat of Tral, Bilal Ahmad of Chadoora, Ghulam Mohammad Dar of Chak Sangran and dozens others.
The JeI spokesman said they were not told the reason behind their detention.
“Something seems fishy at this moment when States special position is listed in Supreme Court,” he said.
A case challenging validity of Article 35-A, which provides special rights and privileges to residents of J&K, is being heard by Supreme Court next week.
“The way forces’ unleashed spree of mass arrest and detained dozens of Jama’at members prior to the hearing seems something is hatching behind the curtains. Any attempt of eroding or tampering Article 35(A) is unacceptable for people of the State,” the Jamaat spokesman said.
Markets in Lal Chowk and adjoining areas opened more than an hour late as business owners were not sure of the situation in the wake of detention of over 150 separatist and Jamaat cadres during the night on Friday.
The sound of frequent flying of fighter jets till 1.30 am on Saturday added to the worries of the residents due to simmering Indo-Pak tension following the Pulwama suicide car bomb attack that left 40 CRPF soldiers dead on February 14.
However, IAF officials described it as a routine exercise.
Long queues were seen outside petrol stations and people were thronging provision shops and buying essential supplies.
Meanwhile, an official spokesman said restrictions would be imposed downtown area of the city in view of JRL shutdown call.
The restrictions would remain enforce in five police stations in old city including Rainwaari, Nowhatta, Khanyar, MR Gunj and Safakadal to maintain peace and order, he said.
"In view of strike call given by separatists on Feb 24, there are credible inputs that the miscreants may resort to various activities which will be prejudicial to the public tranquillity, peace and order,” reads an order issued by district Police headquarters Srinagar.
It said to maintain peace, order and public tranquillity and to ensure safety of life and property, imposition of restriction on 24/02/2019 in terms of Section 11 Cr PC has become imperative.