Arrests of separatists, arrival of forces part of election exercise only

A considerable build-up of security forces is being reported across Kashmir after the Pulwama incident

A considerable build-up of security forces is being reported across Kashmir after the Pulwama incident

In the aftermath of the Pulwma terror attack, the government also withdrew the security cover of several separatists in Kashmir, including Yasin Malik, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Shabir Shah and Saleem Geelani.

Police also detained around two dozen workers of the Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir in the Valley, PTI reported.

The deployment of 10,000 additional paramilitary troops in Jammu and Kashmir is a routine pre-election exercise ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, Home Ministry sources said Saturday.

A Joint Resistance Leadership, comprised of three top Kashmiri leaders including Malik, has called for a strike on Sunday to protest the crackdown, a statement said.

Criticising the government, Mehbooba tweeted: "You can imprison a person but not his ideas". The letter was addressed to the Jammu and Kashmir home secretary, the state Chief Secretary and the Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police.

The action comes days after Pulwama attack in which 49 CRPF personnel lost their lives on February 14.

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More than 100 pro-independence activists and leaders in India-administered Kashmir were detained in overnight raids, police officials said on Saturday, even as New Delhi pushed over 10,000 more soldiers in the disputed region following a suicide attack which killed almost four dozen Indian paramilitary soldiers.

What lent credence to the speculation was a sudden but quiet arrest of separatist leader and JKLF chief Yasin Malik, who will be lodged at the Srinagar central jail. The article, incorporated into the Indian Constitution in 1954, grants special rights and privileges to the residents of Jammu and Kashmir. Such a move will cost mainstream parties political ground in Jammu and Kashmir, especially BJP, and will give a fillip to separatist factions by allowing them to bolster their argument that the Indian government does not care for the welfare of Kashmiris.

The overnight arrests in the region included those of many senior members of Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI), a socio-religious organisation that wants Kashmir to be independent from India.

Earlier, Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik was detained by the Jammu and Kashmir Police from his residence in Srinagar.

"Such illegal and coercive measures against Kashmiris are futile and will not change realities on ground", said Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, an influential separatist leader.

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