The authorities in the Kashmir Valley on Thursday decided to clampdown on separatists calling for poll boycott and rounded up around a dozen leaders and their supporters.
"Any person disrupting polls will be dealt with seriously. There will be no leniency for such elements. We have already detained around a dozen separatist leaders and their supporters," director general of police K Rajendra Kumar told the Hindustan Times. "This will continue," he added.
He said the police rounded up these "anti-poll elements" from Srinagar, Bandipora, Shopian and Kulgam districts.
"These separatists would use some elements to implement boycott. Being law enforcing agency, the police cannot be a mute spectator. People have right to cast their franchise in a free, fair and peaceful atmosphere," said DGP Kumar.
In the past 24 hours, the police detained Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief Yasin Malik, Democratic Freedom Party chief Shabir Shah, National Front head Nayeem Khan and hardline Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Geelani's spokesman Ayaz Akbar in separate raids.
"The police have started a crackdown against JKLF throughout Kashmir. Dozens of JKLF leaders were held," said JKLF chief Yasin Malik, who was arrested from his residence. A shutdown was observed in the area.
Separatist Malik has asked people to stay away from the upcoming assembly polls, starting November 25.
"Boycotting polls are legitimate under the purview of legal and democratic set-up. The crackdown vindicates the fact that India has conceded defeat long before the battle," he said.
Malik, lodged at the Kothibagh police station, said, "Kashmiris, especially those affected directly by floods, are fighting for their survival. These hard times demanded apolitical humanitarian efforts and instead election drama is imposed," he alleged.
Reiterating his call for boycott, Malik said, "Parties, especially the PDP, the NC, the INC and others are seeking votes saying boycott may help the BJP to gain power in Kashmir. This gimmick is being spread to hoodwink Kashmiris and befool them."