Pulwama attack: 100 companies of paramilitary forces deployed in Kashmir
With India still reeling from the Pulwama attack, the Center has airlifted 100 companies of paramilitary forces to Srinagar to bolster security in Jammu and Kashmir. The move comes in the backdrop of a massive crackdown on separatist leaders in the state, and reportedly over 150 people, mainly from the Jamaat-e-Islami, have already been detained. Here are the details.
Details about the deployment of paramilitary forces
While police in the state were detaining separatist leaders on Friday, the Center ordered the deployment of paramilitary forces. 45 companies of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), 35 of the Border Security Force (BSF), and 10 companies each of the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) have been deployed. However, the government has not provided a specific reason for deployment.
Dozens of separatists leaders were arrested on Friday night
In the meantime, security forces arrested dozens of Jamaat-e-Islami leaders, along with Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief Yasin Malik. Although police have termed the detentions as routine, police officials privy to the developments have said that this is the first major crackdown on the Jamaat-e-Islami, which is part of the separatist conglomerate Tehreek-e-Hurriyat. However, the detentions have been criticized.
Jamaat-e-Islam, Mehbooba Mufti have criticized the detentions
In a statement on the detentions, the Jamaat-e-Islami said that the move was a "well-designed conspiracy to pave way for further uncertainty in the region". People's Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti has also termed the detentions an "arbitrary move" and has questioned the legality of the arrests. "You can imprison a person, but not his ideas," she tweeted.
The detentions and deployments come ahead of Article 35A hearing
That said, the detentions and the deployment of the paramilitary forces come ahead of the crucial hearing challenging the constitutional validity of Article 35A, which is slated to take place in the Supreme Court on Monday, February 25. Depending on which way the hearing goes, there's a possibility of unrest in Jammu and Kashmir, and it's likely that the crackdown and deployment are preventive measures.
A brief overview of Article 35A
Article 35A was inserted in the Indian Constitution in 1954, and bars outsiders from settling or buying immovable property in J&K. Further, it allows the J&K Legislature to determine "permanent residents" of the state and accord special rights and privileges to them in several areas.