4,000 arrested in Kashmir since Aug 5: Report

Bangla Tribune Desk
Published : 21:46, Aug 18, 2019 | Updated : 22:08, Aug 18, 2019

Kashmiri child looks from behind a fence at a protest site after Friday prayers during restrictions after the Indian government scrapped the special constitutional status for Kashmir, in Srinagar, August 16, 2019. REUTERSAt least 4,000 people have been detained in Kashmir over fears of unrest since the Indian government stripped of the special status to the State on Aug 5, according to international media.
These people were arrested and held under the Public Safety Act (PSA), said a magistrate who spoke to the news agency AFP on condition of anonymity.
Indian security forces are allowed to imprison someone for up to two years with no charge or trial under the Public Safety Act, which has always become a subject to controversy across India.
Most of the detainees, however, were “flown out of Kashmir because prisons here have run out of capacity,” the magistrate said.
The government official also said 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.
Indian authorities have repeatedly declined to provide a tally of how many people have been detained, apart from saying that over 100 local politicians, activists and academics were arrested in the first few days since Aug 5.
Authorities said the “few preventive detentions” were made to avoid a "breach of the peace" in the region that India has been fighting a revolt for 30 years in which at least 50,000 people have been killed.
Jammu and Kashmir government spokesman Rohit Kansal said previously there was “no centralised figure” for the total number of people detained.
Numerous government officials in Srinagar, including police and security personnel, too, confirmed the sweeping arrests across the State, according to the AFP report.
“Around 6,000 people were medically examined at a couple of places in Srinagar after they were detained”, the news agency quoted a police official who proffered to go unnamed.
“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.