While the Centre has maintained its normalcy stance on Jammu-Kashmir and claimed that stone-throwing has gone down considerably after the revocation of Article 370, the data released by the Minister of State (MOS) G Kishen Reddy, showed that in the last three months since the abrogation, from August 5 to November 15, 765 people have been arrested in 190 cases relating to stone pelting/law and order.
The figure demonstrates a significant rise in the number of cases related to stone-pelting in the Valley. The earlier figure for stone-pelting between January 1 to August 4, 2019, stood at 361. Such cases registered under stone-pelting saw a two-fold rise in the number after abrogation.
Addressing media Reddy blamed the separatists for the menace of stone-pelting in Kashmir and said, “Investigation has revealed that various separatist organisations and activists, which are part of the Hurriyat, have been behind the incidents of stone-pelting in Kashmir Valley.
The NIA (National Investigation Agency) has charge-sheeted 18 persons in the terror funding cases so far.”
Reddy also assured that the government had taken corrective measures to curb down stone-throwing in the Valley and succeeded in cracking down a large number of troublemakers, instigators and mob-mobilisers. Those identified as stone-pelters and mob-mobilisers have been detained under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA) and preventive arrests.
According to the Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA), the army has the power to exercise control over Kashmir. They can issue an arrest warrant for anyone they deem as a threat to security in Kashmir.
Why Is Number Contradictory To What Administration Is Claiming?
While restricting himself from commenting on the predicament of the Valley post-abrogation, a police officer at Rajbagh, Srinagar told The Logical Indian that the stone-pelting cases have come down, happening sporadically in some volatile regions of Downtown Srinagar. “I am certain of the fact that lesser cases of stone-pelting were reported after the revocation of Article 370,” the officer claimed.
A pacifist resistor from the Valley who wished anonymity alleged that his name was on the list of stone-pelters when he hasn’t engaged in any such activity.
“A close friend of mine who happened to be a police officer told me that he had been given an order to ‘pick me up’ in a few days,” said Ahmed (name changed), who recently shifted to Bengaluru after he realized he was reportedly charged with inciting people in Kashmir.
“The police friend warned me and urged me to leave the Valley as soon as possible before he had to incarcerate me,” added Ahmed.
Ahmed’s testimony, along with others that we spoke to, reveals that the police are apprehending people from the Valley even if they consider them as a potential threat or mob-mobilizer, without substantial proof.
Rise In Number Of People Stone-Pelting Accusation
“People are not ready to come out at all, they are apprehensive of the fact that they will be charged under PSA and detained for no reason. There is hardly any violence in comparison to 2008 and 2016 uprising. This just corroborates that Kashmiris were charged with stone-pelting even when they have not committed it,” said Hashim Maqbool, a Kashmiri photo-journalist.
The government had been pedalling normalcy narrative ever since the revocation. Sources in Kashmir confirmed that the protests are irregular and erupting rarely in the Valley. So, the question remains- why are 765 people charged under stone-pelting and PSA if all is normal in Kashmir?