Nearly two dozen cadres of the Jamaat-e-Islami were detained by the police in Kashmir during the intervening night of Friday and Saturday, officials said, adding the arrested Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir members also included its chief Abdul Hamid Fayaz. Though police termed the detentions as routine, officials privy to the developments said this is the first major crackdown on the organisation that is part of the Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, a separatist conglomerate.
"The move is a well designed conspiracy to pave way for further uncertainty in the region," the Jamaat said in a statement as it condemned the detentions.
During the interveing night of February 22 and 23, police and other agencies launched a mass arrest drive and raided many houses in the Valley, the Jamaat claimed.
Dozens of its central and district level leaders were arrested, including its Ameer (chief) Jamaat Dr Abdul Hamid Fayaz and advocate Zahid Ali (spokesperson), it said.
The Jamaat cadres were picked up from various places, including Anantnag, Pahalgham, Dialgam, Tral -- all in south Kashmir.
The Jamaat termed the raids as "fishy" at a time when the Supreme Court is to hear a petition regarding Article 35A of the Constitution, which grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
"...The way forces personnel unleashed the spree of mass arrest and detained dozens of Jamaat members prior to the hearing seems something is hatching behind the curtains. Any attempt of eroding or tampering Article 35A is unacceptable for people of Jammu and Kashmir," it said.
Besides this, police also detained JKLF chief Yaseen Malik on Friday night.
Additional troops have been also rushed to Jammu and Kashmir but no one has been able to provide reasons for such a massive deployment.
The action comes eight days after an audacious terror attack on a convoy in Pulwama district in which 40 CRPF personnel lost their lives.