Over 400 Detained In Kashmir Before PM Modi's Visit
Old file pictures of police arresting a youth in the Valley
SRINAGAR: A member of the Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly along with hundreds of separatist activists have been detained by authorities in the Kashmir Valley to make the Prime Minister Narendra Modi's rally in Srinagar a smooth affair.
A high level meeting, chaired by Director General of Police, K Rajendra, was held Wednesday to review the security arrangements ahead of Modi's visit which was attended by top officials from the state and central security agencies.
Sources in J&K Police said over 400 separatist activists and former militants have been detained or asked to present themselves before their respective police stations on Saturday when Modi is scheduled to address a rally in Srinagar.
"We are not taking any chances. Fool-proof security arrangements have been made and vigil has been stepped up in Srinagar and its outskirts to prevent any untoward incident on the day of the Prime Minister's visit," IG Kashmir, SJM Gilani, said.
On Wednesday, a large contingent of police and paramilitary troopers were deployed outside the Srinagar residence of moderate Hurriyat chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, and he was told not to leave the premises.
Senior Hurriyat leader and National Front chairman, Nayeem Ahmad Khan, who has been exhorting people to participate in the "Million March" called by veteran Hurriyat leader, Syed Ali Geelani on the day of the Prime Minister's visit, was also arrested Wednesday evening.
Khan had escaped the police dragnet over the past couple of days.
Also, perhaps for the first time, an elected lawmaker, Engineer Rashid, was detained at Wattergam, hours after he announced to welcome Modi with black flags in Srinagar. He has been lodged in Handwara police station.
The crackdown has been extended to the virtual space as well with the authorities closely monitoring the buzz about Modi's visit and the Hurriyat's "Million March" on social networking sites including Facebook and Twitter.
During his visit, the Prime Minister is expected to announce the financial package for starting the rehabilitation process in J&K where private and public infrastructure was wrecked in last year's flood. Speculations are also rife within the PDP, the BJP's alliance partner in J&K, that Modi might also extend an invitation of talks to separatists leaders.
However, the opposition, National Conference, Wednesday said such packages won't change the nature of Kashmir dispute. "Packages don’t work in Kashmir. Kashmir is a political issue and it needs political packages,” NC's General Secretary, Ali Mohammad Sagar, told reporters in Srinagar.
Hitting out at the chief minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, for "heaping undue praises" on Modi, Sagar alleged that the PDP-led government has directed the civil and police administration to ensure participation of people in Modi's rally. "Even daily wagers and Anganwardi workers have been asked to ensure their presence at Sher-i-Kashmir Cricket Stadium on November 7," Sagar said.