–Concern in occupied valley as mobs target Kashmiris across India
–Natives of held Kashmir advised to exercise caution, avoid discussion on Kashmir, leaving homes alone
PULWAMA: Indian police and troops on Saturday arrested 13 Kashmiri youth during raids in south Kashmir districts of Pulwama and Islamabad as tension in the occupied valley soared following the attack on Indian troops Thursday.
The arrested youth have been held at various police stations.
According to Kashmir Media Service (KMS), troops and police personnel raided Midoora, Laribal, Kakapora, Marhama and other areas and picked up the youths in connection with an explosion at Lethpora in Pulwama that left at least 44 Indian paramilitary soldiers dead.
As per locals, soon after the Lethpora explosion, the forces’ personnel barged into the residence of a freedom activist, Mudasir Khan, at Midoora in Awantipora area of Pulwama on Thursday night. “The forces thrashed his family members, hurled abuses and ransacked their house,” locals said.
Massive deployment of Indian troops and police personnel has been made across southern areas particularly Pulwama, Awantipora, Tral and Sangam since Thursday night to conduct the raids.
TROUBLE OUTSIDE OCCUPIED VALLEY:
Meanwhile, messages are being circulated on social media platforms asking Kashmiris living outside the valley to exercise caution, avoid discussion on Kashmir and leaving their homes alone.
A police officer from Islamabad town, requesting anonymity said, “My son is in Jammu for coaching. This is for the first time he is living outside the valley. There is tension over there. As a parent, I appeal authorities to ensure the safety of my child.”
A journalist from Kulgam district said he asked his two nieces, studying in New Delhi, to leave their apartment only when it is essential.
“Many people riding bikes tried to ram into our quarters, but they didn’t succeed in their plan. We are living with our families including children here. Only a wire fence has been put around the building and some guards with batons have been placed for our protection,” said an employee. He added that worried employees have decided to stay awake during the night to keep a vigil.
A Kashmiri student, who was suspended by the administration of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and booked by police for an “anti-state” post on Twitter Friday, has also gone missing.
AMU Dean of Student Welfare (DSW), Prof Jamshed Siddiqui, has confirmed that Basim Hilal Zargar, a resident of Beerwah town in Budgam district, is off the grid.
“We have tried contacting his cell phone but it is switched off,” he said and added Basim’s family has been contacted officially but they, too, have no clue regarding his whereabouts.
The distressed family of the student has said that Basim was innocent. Hilal Ahmad Zargar, the father, said that he did not know whether his son had tweeted something objectionable or not. “I talked to him a day before but it was normal as usual. Since then his phone is off. I tried a lot to contact him, but in vain,” he added.
Kashmiri students studying in Haryana and Dehradun colleges in India are also reportedly being subjected to harassment and assault at the hands of mobs.
A student, Amir Hussain of Shopian, studying in MM University, Ambala, Haryana, told Srinagar-based reporters over the phone that one of his colleagues had been thrashed by the mob.
“We were in the market when a group of protesters, shouting anti-Kashmir slogans beat one of us,” Amir said, adding, some of the Kashmiri students have eaten nothing from Thursday fearing attacks by the mob outside.
As per Amir, there are around 200 Kashmiri students who are trapped at MM University. He appealed to the authorities of occupied Kashmir to request the Haryana administration to ensure their safety.