In the weeks since Kashmir’s lockdown, hundreds of elected politicians, activists and trade unionists have been imprisoned or put under “house arrest”. Thousands of young men – including minors – have been arrested in night raids by the police, with many transported to jails outside the state, Al-Jazeera reported.
Despite criticism from the human rights organisations, India says its actions are legal under the strict emergency laws in place in Kashmir since an armed rebellion began there in 1989.
In its recent report about Kashmir, one of the most prominent media outlets around the globe, Al-Jazeera reported that since August 5, more than 4,000 teenagers and young men have been arrested from their homes in the middle of the night under stringent detention laws. Many families are unaware of the whereabouts of their loved ones.
On August 19, the Dar family from Buchpora neighbourhood in Srinagar said their sons were arrested the night before, Al-Jazeera reported. “They scaled the walls, broke down the door and windows, and demanded to know who was inside. We showed them their [the sons’] identity cards, but they said they were stone pelters,’ said the mother of the two men. ‘We said: ‘No, they are not stone pelters, you can ask the neighbours. If they are stone pelters, you can arrest them. They both work as labourers.’ Then they started hitting me. They went upstairs and pulled the boys out of bed. One was pulled out by his hair. Then they hit my daughter and hit me as well. They beat up my sons too. And then they took them away. Initially, we didn’t even know where they took them.’
The same night, the police also arrested a teenager named Arif from another house in the neighbourhood. His mother showed blood stains on the wall of his room, where police had dragged him out. Neighbours reported that a total of 10 young men were arrested from Buchpora alone that night, the report further said.
Al-Jazeera reported that since the night raids and arrests began, a few neighbourhoods in downtown Srinagar have mobilised to protect themselves.
According to the report, residents have erected barricades using leftover construction material, corrugated sheets, wheelbarrows and any other objects they could find lying around. They dug trenches into the roads to stop police jeeps from entering. And warnings about possible raids are broadcast over the local mosque’s loudspeaker
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