No need to panic, says J&K Governor Malik

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Srinagar, Feb 23: Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik has said there was no need for citizens to be alarmed over a major crackdown on separatists that began on Friday night in the state. The centre has sent around 10,000 soldiers of various paramilitary forces to the state. The massive crackdown, which happened through the night, resulted in the arrest of around 130 people, mainly separatists from the Jamaat-e-Islami (Kashmir) and the Hurriyat Conference. They included Jamaat-e-Islami chief Abdul Hamid Fayaz and Hurriyat Conference’s Yasin Malik.

“There is no need to panic. Rumours are being floated to create panic. The deployment of forces is part of pre-election induction. The Election Commission of India team is visiting the state shortly,” he told NDTV.

“The arrest of separatists has happened as part of security measures in the wake of the recent attack… Some people are trying to create panic over [Article] 35A for last six months,” Malik added.

The police too have termed the detentions of the separatists as routine, saying, “Separatists and potential stone-throwers have been arrested in the past as well, as a preventive measure.”

A notice from the Home Ministry in New Delhi late on Friday evening led to “100 additional companies of paramilitary soldiers” being airlifted to Srinagar, where the Jammu and Kashmir police and existing security forces worked through the night rolling out their deployment plan for the next few days.

Depending on the paramilitary force, a ‘company’ of soldiers typically consists of between 80 and 150 soldiers, suggesting that last evening’s order by the Ministry of Home Affairs would see around 10,000 soldiers airlifted to Srinagar.

There has been a considerable build-up of security forces across Jammu and Kashmir after last week’s terror attack in Pulwama, in which over 40 soldiers were killed.