The administration in Jammu and Kashmir has placed several separatists, civil society members and mainstream party leaders under house arrest to pre-empt law and order problems during Prime Minister (PM) Manmohan Singh’s visit to Kashmir on Tuesday.
A spokesman of the hardline faction of the Hurriyat said six senior separatist workers in south and north Kashmir had been called to police stations on Monday. Besides, a number of former militants have been put under constant surveillance.
“The police are creating terror in the state through rampant arrests of political activists,” said Hurriyat spokesman Ayaz Akbar.
Hardline leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani said, “Arresting party workers (before the Prime Minister’s proposed visit) is unconstitutional and unjustified.”
“Restrictions on movements of pedestrians have added to people’s miseries and agonies.”
Sources said the authorities were planning to keep a close eye on the movement of senior separatist leaders like Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Geelani and Yasin Malik, who have called for a shutdown during Singh’s visit.
The government has decided to crack down on even mainstream party leaders.
Independent MLA and Awami Ittihaad Party (AIP) chief Engineer Rashid has been placed under house arrest.
He had threatened to carry out a march to protest “the failure of the government of India to take initiatives to resolve the political dispute of Jammu and Kashmir”.
“Such hard and tough measures will bear no result,” said AIP spokesman Showkat Nadvi.
Medical Employees’ Joint Action Forum chairman Dr Nisar-ul-Hasan, who had asked doctors and paramedics across the valley to observe June 25 as ‘black day’ to protest the spurious drugs scam, has also been arrested.
In the political circles there is a feeling that BJP chief election campaigner Narendra Modi’s moderate speech on Kashmir may have an impact on what the PM will speak during his visit.
Opposition Peoples Democratic Party spokesman Naeem Akhtar said: “Modi has claimed the legacy of (former PM Atal Bihari) Vajpayee, who extended the hand of friendship to Pakistan. His speech may impact the PM’s address.”