SRINAGAR: The crackdown by the Jammu & Kashmir government on protesters to prevent demonstrations has triggered migration among youth in south Kashmir districts, many of whom have fled to different areas of the state to escape police dragnet.

In extensive interactions with The Citizen, residents of four south Kashmir districts of Kulgam, Anantnag, Pulwama and Shopian said after the police started carrying out nocturnal raids, they have sent their wards to live with their relations in other parts of the state till normalcy returns.

“Last night, the SOG men (of J&K police) raided a house in our neighbourhood and took away their young son. These raids have created panic in the village and so we decided to send our son to live with his aunt for the time being in Ganderbal,” a local of Pulwama district said on condition of anonymity.

According to officials, more than 1000 youths have been identified by central agencies who are accused of orchestrating or participating in anti-India and pro-freedom demos that have swept Kashmir Valley following the killing of Hizb commander Burhan Wani last month.

The J&K Police have started the process of cracking down on these protesters, many of whom are affiliated with the Hurriyat, by invoking the draconian Public Safety Act against them. Yesterday, senior moderate Hurriyat leader Dr GM Hubi was booked under PSA and shifted to Kot Bhalwal jail.

“Cops have been carrying out nocturnal raids in our village over the last week. My parents were terrified after one of my friends was arrested by police. Since the schools are closed, they sent me to live with my uncle till the situation returns to normalcy,” a youth who has migrated from Kulgam to Budgam district, said.

According to police sources, all the youths who have been booked in 2008 and 2010 civilian unrest in the Valley, have been asked to make daily appearances in police stations to ensure that they don’t participate in the renewed phase of protests that have resulted in the killing of 71 civilians in retaliatory action by government forces.

“In cases where the youths don’t turn up, raids are carried out at their houses and, in some exceptional cases, we pick up their father or immediate relation to pressurize the absconder into giving up” a police officer said, wishing anonymity.

“Police arrested my father during the night two days ago and he is still in custody. I used to participate in protests during 2010 but I have been out of home for a long time. I don’t know why they took my father for no fault of mine. This is tyranny,” a local of Anantnag, who is presently staying in Jammu, said.