4000 kashmiris arrested since August 5, Indian government official data reveals

The data for the first time shows the extent of the detentions, as well as indicating who was picked up and where.

According to an Indian government report accessed by Reuters, nearly 4,000 Kashmiris have been arrested since the scrapping of article 370 indicating the scale of the biggest crackdown in Kashmir.

Kashmir has been in turmoil since India stripped it of its limited autonomy and statehood on Aug. 5, leading to clashes between security forces and residents and inflaming tension with Pakistan.

In an attempt to stifle the protests that the reform sparked in Kashmir, India cut internet and mobile services and imposed curfew-like restrictions in many areas.

It has also arrested more than 3,800 people, according to a government report dated Sept. 6 and seen by Reuters, though about 2,600 have since been released.

It was not clear on what basis most of the people were being held but an Indian official said some were held under the Public Safety Act, a law in Jammu and Kashmir state that allows for detention for up to two years without charge.

The data for the first time shows the extent of the detentions, as well as indicating who was picked up and where.

The report contains data from the 13 police districts that make up the Kashmir Valley, the most populous part of the Himalayan region where the main city of Srinagar is located.

The largest number of arrests were in Srinagar, the data shows, at nearly 1,000. Earlier unrest often centered in rural areas.

More than 200 politicians, including two former chief ministers of the state, were arrested, along with more than 100 leaders and activists from an umbrella organization of pro-separatist political groups.

Of the detained political leaders, more than 80 were from the People’s Democratic Party, formerly in coalition in Jammu and Kashmir state with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

About 70 are from the National Conference, which has for years dominated politics in Indian Kashmir, and more than a dozen from India’s main opposition Congress party.

The bulk of those arrested – more than 3,000 – were listed as “stone pelters and other miscreants”. On Sunday, 85 detainees were shifted to a prison in Agra in northern India, a police source said.

A spokeswoman for India’s interior ministry did not respond to a request for comment. Neither did Jammu and Kashmir police.

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