Eleven days after Indian authorities began detaining hundreds of local leaders and activists in Kashmir, fearing violence after the region’s special status was withdrawn, it is unclear in many cases where they are or why they were taken away.
‘We don’t know where he is and what the charges are. We heard he has been shifted outside Kashmir,’ Fareeda told Reuters about his husband, who was arrested in Pulwama on August 4.
The 45-year-old Shameem Ahmad Ganai was arrested a day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government scrapped provisions granting special status to Kashmir. Fareeda said she went to find her husband the next morning at the local police station in Kakapora, but he was no longer there. ‘We don’t know where he is and what the charges are,’ she told Reuters. ‘We heard he has been shifted outside Kashmir.’
Last week, Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police Dilbag Singh told Reuters that around 300 people had been arrested, some of whom had been taken out of the state. But a government official, who declined to be named, said at least 500 local leaders and activists have been arrested or detained across Kashmir since the beginning of last week. In the latest detention, Shah Faesal, a celebrated bureaucrat turned politician, was picked up on Wednesday, said an official of Indian government. Earlier in the week, he had told the BBC’s HARDtalk that Modi’s government had ‘murdered’ democracy.
Ganai, a meat shop owne, was previously arrested in 2016 on charges of stone-pelting, attacking security forces with rods, and damaging government property. His family said he had taken part in widespread protests after the death of a popular militant leader.