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No space to hold detainees, private properties turn holding centres in Kashmir

India Today logo India Today 16-08-2019 Abhishek Bhalla

Over 10 days after India moved to abrogate provisions of Article 370 following which political workers and leaders were detained in Jammu and Kashmir, around a thousand detentions have prompted the administration to hire private properties across the Valley to accommodate those taken into custody.

a group of people walking down a street: Over 550 political workers are presently lodged in makeshift detention centres in Srinagar, Baramulla and Gurez after the administration ran out of space told these detainees in the wake of the abrogation of the special status under Article 370. © Abhishek Bhalla Over 550 political workers are presently lodged in makeshift detention centres in Srinagar, Baramulla and Gurez after the administration ran out of space told these detainees in the wake of the abrogation of the special status under Article 370.

According to latest reports, at least 560 such workers have been lodged in makeshift detention centres at Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre in Srinagar and similar centres in Baramulla and Gurez.

Mainstream political leaders, including former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, were taken into custody night before India's announced to abrogate Article 370.

Sources have said the police also picked up overground workers and those who indulged in stone-pelting in the past in large numbers to prevent the situation from getting out of hand.

Muneer Khan, Additional Director General Police, had earlier said some detentions have also taken place under the Public Safety Act (PSA) often used in the state to keep suspects behinds bars for years.

Watch: Locals in PoK block Pak Army van, chant 'quit Kashmir'

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(Provided by The Times of India)

"Some PSA cases have been filed. We don't want collateral damage and civilian casualties," Khan said at a press briefing.

While the police and administration have not made public the number of those in detention, sources said the numbers are high and that is what led to the hiring of private properties as detention centres. These include guest houses, small hotels and even residential properties.

Officials say this was done to ensure that there was no mobilising force to get people on the streets to protest against the decision of the Narendra Modi government.

NO ENCOUNTERS SINCE ABROGATION OF ARTICLE 370

There have been no encounters between terrorists and security forces since the abrogation of Article 370 provisions.

"Movement of terrorists has been noticed mostly in south Kashmir," said a police official.

KASHMIR UNDER LOCKDOWN

Kashmir has been under lockdown with strict security measures in place putting restrictions on movement and communication since August 5. Landline, mobile and internet network has been down to prevent rumour-mongering that may trigger large-scale violence, the administration has maintained.

Justifying the clampdown, the administration has maintained that it did not want a repetition of what happened in 2016 after terrorist Burhan Wani was killed by security forces.

See: J&K celebrates first Independence Day after abrogation of Article 370

(Provided by The Indian Express)

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