New Delhi: In a bid to thwart separatist outfits from disrupting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally in Srinagar, security forces nabbed over 400 Kashmiris and blacklisted over 50 social media pages on Saturday. The Sher-i-Kashmir stadium, where Modi will deliver his address has been turned into a fortress following the separatist group’s call to demonstrate against the rally.
While many top separatist leaders featured in the list of the detainees, several others have been put under house arrest.
Cases have also been filed against unknown people for allegedly spreading propaganda to fuel unrest.
In addition, political parties have been barred from holding rallies on Saturday.
“The situation is not very ideal. There has been a problem, you can’t deny that. There is a section of people who don’t like such gatherings and if government is taking precaution, it will be for the general good of the people,” said Rafi Ahmad Mir, general secretary of the PDP.
However, the umbrella organization for all separatist groups, the All Party Hurriyat Conference is keen to make it clear that Kashmiris are against Indian occupancy in the state.
“Our rally will be a message for India to read the writing on the wall that Kashmiris are against Indian occupation,” said Ayaz Akbar, a spokesman for the All Parties Hurriyat Conference.
However, the move to arrest leaders drew flak from several quarters who cited that such stringent measures were not taken when former PM Vajpayee visited Kashmir in 2003.
Kashmiris have, in addition, been protesting about the lack of federal government aid more than a year after the worst flooding in over a century devastated half a million homes.
While police set up countless check-posts around Srinagar, soldiers patrolled the streets to prevent any subversive activities.
On Thursday, attacks by militants on a paramilitary camp left 11 soldiers injured.
Modi is expected to declare an economic package to help the state recover from the floods and also reach out to youth.
(Picture Courtesy: www.gg2.net)