Kashmir "Terrorised" Before PM Visit, BMWs For VVIPS, Detention For Youth
A Bulletproof BMW has reached Jammu and Kashmir for Prime Minister Narendra Modi
SRINAGAR: The November 7 visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Jammu and Kashmir has turned into a nightmare for the locals leading to widespread anger and resentment in the Valley. Hundreds of Kashmiris are being arrested without warning even as bullet proof luxury cars, including a customised BMW, roll into the state for the Prime Minister visit on Saturday.
Made-to-order sedans, critical care ambulances are part of the large paraphernalia for the VVP visit. PM Modi is scheduled to speak as the Sher-e-Kashmir stadium in Srinagar and address a public meeting at Baglihar. The PDP-BJP coalition is taking out all the plugs to make the visit a “resounding success” with Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed creating the environment with his lavish praise of the PM.
The Million March called for by Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani is, predictably, banned with not just the separatists but also an elected legislator Engineer Rashid being taken into “preventive custody” or placed under house arrest by the police. Engineer has been targeted by both the BJP and the state government, after he was beaten inside the Assembly by BJP lawmakers, and again had ink thrown at him while in Delhi.
In an atmosphere of deep repression as many in Srinagar told The Citizen, CPI(M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami lashed out at the “indiscriminate” arrests. He said that the youth in particular were being targeted, and had been “caged in” by the specific police stations acting under instructions clearly. “A sense of fear has been generated among the people,” he said wondering what the state government was trying to achieve through this. Tarigami, usually careful in his choice of words, criticised Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed saying, "before eulogising the BJP he should introspect the ground realities in the state and the rest of the country, which are exclusively contrary to his claims".
The same sentiments were echoed by many in Kashmir who are not being quoted to keep them safe from a police visit. The Valley has been virtually cordoned off for the PM’s visit with carefully screened and selected persons only to be cleared for his meeting at the stadium. As an academic said,” the rest in Kashmir are the enemy, and are being virtually locked up in their homes.” The crackdown on the youth, which Tarigami said is intense, has generated fear across the state particularly as Kashmiris never know if and when their young people will return home.
Protest statements by different Kashmiri outfits speak of the state “waging war” against the Kashmiris, and of unleashing complete terror. A security blanket has covered the Valley, with the forces in riot gear out in large numbers, multiple checking point, frisking of individuals and search of vehicles, even as Kashmiris continue to be arrested in what is described as one of the severest crackdowns in recent weeks. Roads have been closed, the stadium turned into a fortress as the Prime Minister visits to ostensibly address the people who have been locked in doors.