Srinagar, Feb 23: Panic gripped Srinagar and other parts of the Kashmir Valley on Saturday in the wake of raids which resulted in the detention of dozens of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) cadres, including its top leadership.
Adding to the panic was the Centre’s decision to deploy additional 100 companies of the Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) on an urgent basis in the valley.
Shops and other business establishments were in Lal Chowk and other parts of Srinagar were closed as public transport also started thinning out on the roads.
A local news agency, KNS, quoted a senior police officer as saying that the detentions and the additional CAPF deployment was nothing unusual since it was connected with the Election Commission’s visit to the state in March.
According to the agency, the officer also confirmed that the detention of JI and separatist leaders was part of the tightening of security ahead of elections in the state.
Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and two Election Commissioners, Ashok Lavasa and Sushil Chander, are scheduled to visit on March 4 and 5.
The team will meet political leaders and state government officials to decide whether the Lok Sabha and state assembly elections can be held simultaneously or not in the state.
Dozens of JI leaders including its chief, Abdul Hamid Fayaz, were detained during nocturnal raids in the valley.
JKLF chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik was also taken into preventive detention by police on Friday.