World Bulletin / News Desk
Indian police have arrested around 500 young people in Indian-held Kashmir's capital Srinagar on Monday, to "ensure smooth polling" when the city votes in India's national election on Wednesday.
All of the arrested youth are civilians but according to police they could be potentially be, or already have been, involved in stone-throwing clashes with authorities. Indian police have already arrested pro-independence leaders and workers.
"Nobody will be allowed to disrupt the electoral process. The arrests have been made and will continue to be affected to instil confidence among the voters so that no one attempts to intimidate the people by resorting to violence against those who want to exercise their franchise," the police said in a statement to the press.
A senior police official told Anadolu Agency the crackdown has been launched to prevent a repetition of protests during last Thursday's voting in south Kashmir. Police sources say that more than 247 were arrested from Srinagar city alone.
“This has been done as a precautionary measure,” the officer said. “Once stone-throwers are out on the streets, it is difficult to contain them, and so we are containing them before they hit the streets.”
"Further arrests are expected in coming days as more stone pelters who have already been identified are yet to be arrested," the police statement said.
Disruptive protests characterized by stone-throwing erupted in southern Indian-held Kashmir when it went to polls last week.
A large number of police and paramilitary forces have been deployed in Srinagar and checkpoints have been erected on all major roads leading to Srinagar city.
Since 1989, Kashmiri groups in the Indian-held part of the Himalayan region have been fighting for independence from India or unification with neighboring Pakistan.Last Mod: 29 Nisan 2014, 10:58