India holds Kashmiris under ‘controversial law’ allowing imprisonment without charge

Authorities extend detention of two Kashmiri leaders in the disputed valley

Reuters March 07, 2019
Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front Chairman Yasin Malik is being taken into custody by Indian police. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

SRINAGAR: Indian authorities on Thursday extended the detention of two Hurriyat leaders in occupied Kashmir, police said, holding them under a controversial law that allows for suspects to be held for up to two years without charge.

The order is part of a crackdown on 'militancy and those who demand occupied Kashmir’s secession, after a young man from the disputed region last month rammed a car full of explosives into a convoy of Indian paramilitary policemen, killing over 40 of them.

Police detained Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Chairman Yasin Malik and Zahid Ali, a spokesman for the recently banned Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) party, days after the attack.

The authorities accuses JeI of supporting 'militancy' in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK), which is at the heart of decades of conflict between the two neighbouring countries.

Jamaat-e-Islami said last week it had not done anything to invite the ban. The group could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

Police said both Malik and Ali were being moved to a jail in Jammu, the winter capital of occupied Kashmir.

Two Kashmiri vendors attacked in India's Lucknow post-Pulwama

A JKLF spokesperson condemned the “arbitrary arrest” and the use of the public safety act against Malik, calling it a “glaring display of frustration” of occupying authorities.

Imprisoned as a freedom fighter in 1990, Malik renounced violence and declared a ceasefire in 1994, but he has been imprisoned multiple times since then.

Malik’s supporters called for a shutdown in Srinagar to protest against his detention with shops and other commercial establishments closed.

All Parties Hurriyat Conference, (APHC) Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq denounced in a post on Twitter the authorities’ “illegal and undemocratic tactics” and said they would not stop demands for a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute “in accordance with people’s will”.

He and other leaders have called for a strike in occupied Kashmir on Friday.

A senior Indian government official said at least 25 other leaders, most of them affiliated with the Jamaat-e-Islami, could be detained.

At least 300 Kashmiris, most of them from that group have been arrested in the past three weeks.

Amit Shah, the president of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, said last week the government had made it clear to the freedom fighters that “if they want to live in India, they will have to speak the language of India, not Pakistan’s”.


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