August 20, 2019 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
Chandigarh: Reports from Indian-administered Kashmir reveal that thousands of people have been arrested and detained by Indian authorities in Kashmir since August 5- when the BJP government stripped of the special status to the State.
A report in The Hindu notes: “A magistrate speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity said at least 4,000 people were arrested and held under the Public Safety Act (PSA), a controversial law that allows authorities to imprison someone for up to two years without charge or trial”.
“Most of them were flown out of Kashmir because prisons here have run out of capacity,” the magistrate said, adding that he had used a satellite phone allocated to him to collate the figures from colleagues across the State amid a communications blackout imposed by authorities.
Notably, Indian state has turned the Jammu and Kashmir into a prison house by imposing restrictions on movement of people and putting thousands behind the bars, including pro-India Kashmiri politicians.
Indian authorities have repeatedly declined to provide a tally of how many people have been taken into custody.
They said the “few preventive detentions” were made to avoid a “breach of the peace”.
Jammu and Kashmir government spokesman Rohit Kansal said previously there was “no centralised figure” for the total number of people detained.
News agency AFP maintained that it spoke to numerous government officials in Srinagar, including police and security personnel, who confirmed the sweeping arrests.
A police official who asked to remain anonymous told AFP “around 6,000 people were medically examined at a couple of places in Srinagar after they were detained”.
“They are first sent to the central jail in Srinagar and later flown out of here in military aircraft,” he added.
Another security official said “thousands are jailed” but that the figure did not include other residents whose detentions at police stations had not been recorded.
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