The government detained at least 75 Kashmiri political leaders and activists to forestall political unrest after an alliance of Kashmir’s regional political parties won a local election, leaders and a police official said on Saturday.
The District Council election, concluded early this week, was the first such exercise since the central government last year revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. The government then cracked down on the opposition and rounded up hundreds of people to preempt protests and violence.
The new detentions, including separatist leaders and members of the banned Jamat-e-Islami group, were for preventive custody, said a senior police official, who asked not to be identified in line with official policy.
The detentions undermine the verdict of the people, said Imran Nabi Dar, spokesman for the National Conference, a regional party and a key member of the alliance.
The alliance’s victory shows that Kashmiris have not accepted Modi’s decision to end Kashmir’s special status, said Omar Abdullah, a former chief minister and head of the National Conference.
After their release from lengthy detention, Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, chief of the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Democratic Party, announced the alliance in October to seek a peaceful restoration of Kashmir’s autonomy.