Saturday Dec 26, 2020
SRINAGAR: At least 75 political leaders and activists have been put under "preventive arrest" by India in occupied Kashmir, after an alliance of local political parties won an election, leaders and a police officer said on Saturday.
The District Council election, concluded early this week, was the first such exercise since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government last year revoked the special status of the India-occupied region that was accorded under Article 370 of the Indian constitution.
New Delhi then cracked down on the opposition and rounded up hundreds of people to preempt protests and violence.
The new detentions, including leaders and members of the Jamaat-e-Islami, were for preventive custody, said a senior police official, who asked not to be identified in line with official policy.
The detentions undermine the verdict of the people, said Imran Nabi Dar, spokesman for the National Conference, a regional party and a key member of the alliance.
The alliance’s victory shows that Kashmiris have not accepted Modi’s decision to end Kashmir’s special status, said Omar Abdullah, a former chief minister and head of the National Conference.
After their release from lengthy detention, Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, chief of the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Democratic Party, announced the alliance in October to seek a peaceful restoration of Kashmir’s autonomy.
A day earlier, Abdullah said that the Indian government's actions are now evident after he said "horse trading and defections" were observed.
"This explains why our leaders in Shopian district are being put under 'preventive arrest' by the police. Jammu and Kashmir police and the administration are facilitating horse trading and defections," he wrote on Twitter.
He said that the woman in the photo contested and won on a National Conference mandate but was shown joining "the BJP's B-team".
"Shame on this administration for playing partisan politics to curry favour with the ruling party and their stooges," he said, adding: "So much for 'democracy has won'!"