J&K police conduct raids, arrest stone pelters ahead of bypolls

Uddipta Das
Campaigning for the bypolls have also been negligible as many parties are afraid of being attacked by stone pelting mob.

Srinagar, April 3: Ahead of the Kashmir bypolls, the Jammu and Kashmir police are at an arresting spree and have held many youth in connection with cases of stone pelting. As per reports, 12 people were arrested by the police and these people were wanted in several cases of stone pelting in raids conducted mostly in the past nights.

The bypolls for Srinagar and Anantnag constituency is drawing close and consequently, the police has evidently increased their action rate, leading to the arrest of many youth in a bid to prevent them from taking part or carrying out any anti-election campaigns. Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Pulwama, Mohammad Rayees Bhat confirmed that the arrested persons were wanted in several cases of stone pelting in the past. According to Firstpost, he also added that since these arrested youths failed to show up at the station, raids were conducted and arrests were made. The SSP also in the same report, said that those arrested were ‘chronic stone pelters’.

But the police has denied any connection between the arrests and the arriving bypolls. As per the FP report, police sources said that in Pulwama district alone, more than 100 youth has been arrested in the past few weeks.

The police is reportedly looking for the youth who may have been involved in the unrest of 2008, 2010 and 2016. The FP report also states that this is nothing new and is repeated almost in every district of south Kashmir. On Thursday, the police busted a Hizbul Mujahideen module and arrested seven suspected militants who were allegedly planning to disrupt the upcoming bypolls.

Campaigning for the bypolls have also been negligible as many parties are afraid of being attacked by stone pelting mob, the Firstpost report suggested.

In Shopian, the police have reported around 20 youth and their family members have been alleging that they often face harassment during such raids and arrests. There are also allegations of the police ignoring court release orders in a few cases.