Thousands of people have been arrested by Indian authorities in occupied Kashmir as curfew and other restrictions continued for the 15th day on Monday, following the Indian government’s abolition of the special status of the occupied valley.
At least 4,000 people have been arrested under the black Public Safety Act (PSA) over the past two weeks, a magistrate told AFP in Srinagar.
The magistrate said most of them were flown out of Kashmir because prisons here have run out of capacity he had used a satellite phone allocated to him to collate the figures from colleagues across the occupied territory amid a communications blackout imposed by authorities.
An Indian government spokesman, Rohit Kansal, said previously there was “no centralised figure” for the total number of people detained, but a number of government officials in Srinagar, including police and other security personnel, confirmed the arrests.
A police official said on condition of anonymity, “Around 6,000 people were medically examined at a couple of places in Srinagar after they were detained. They are first sent to the central jail in Srinagar and later flown out of here in military aircrafts.” Two senior government officials also confirmed that at least two dozen people were admitted to hospitals with pellet injuries, as heavy clashes broke out in a number of places in Srinagar including Soura, Rainawari, Nowhetta and Gojwara areas.
As a result of the strict curfew and communication blockade, a humanitarian crisis is fast unfolding as residents of occupied Kashmir face severe shortages of essential commodities including baby food and life-saving medicines.
Almost all Hurriyat leaders, including Syed Ali Gilani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, continue to remain under house arrest or in jails.