Srinagar, October 13 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, Srinagar’s central jail is brimming with thousands of young men who have been arrested and detained since August 5 – the day India repealed special status of Kashmir.

Family members of the detainees wade through endless check points before they reach Martyrs Park in Srinagar, which has become a makeshift waiting room. Family members wait in the park for their loved ones’ number to be called.

Showkat Ahmed and his other family members travelled 68 kilometers from Damhal, the village where they live, in hopes of meeting his brother, a student who was arrested on August 21.

Aamir Ahmed, Showket Ahmed’s brother, was charged with provoking other people to protest, according to the charge sheet, provided to media. But Showket Ahmed says he’s sure that’s not the case. “My brother is innocent. He is just a student,” he says.

There is no official data to confirm the total number of people detained, arrested or released since August 5. But media reports suggest that more than 13,000 people have been detained so far. Many of the detained are young men.

A policeman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told media that young men were often targets of raids and arrests. Some of the detained are lodged in Srinagar Central Jail and others have been taken to jails in India.

Rounding up and detaining thousands of people is being used as a measure to avoid strikes and protests, police say.

The detainees booked under the draconian law, Public Safety Act (PSA), can be kept in detention for a maximum of two years without trial.

A 22-year-old youth, Tajamul Islam, was also picked from his home on August 21. His father, mother and brother have to wait for hours in the hope of meeting him.


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