On Friday night, fighter jets and helicopters covered the valley of Kashmir as the police, backed by the army, raided the premises of separatist groups and arrested their leaders and activists.
It was followed by news being spread on social media that about 100 companies of paramilitary troops were being airlifted to Kashmir for immediate deployment.
“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,” Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik 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 massive crackdown of separatist groups in Kashmir took place through the night and 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.
The Joint Resistance Leadership of separatist organisations, meanwhile, called for a strike in Kashmir on Sunday and said the arrests were related to Article 35A . “Raids across the Valley looks to be not only part of the continued policy of suppression of pro self determination leadership and narrative, but in the case of hearing of 35A in Indian Supreme Court, an indication of what may be expected,’’ said JRL.
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. Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed has claimed responsibility for it.