Authorities make more arrests in Kashmir crackdown
Security forces target stone-pelters; schools open, but classrooms are deserted as parents are unsure of what may happen.
Security forces detained 30 people overnight in Srinagar, local officials said on Tuesday, seeking to keep a tight lid on protests over the government's decision to remove special status for Jammu and Kashmir.
Crowds have demonstrated in the city despite a severe clampdown on phone and internet services, a ban on public gatherings and detentions of score of political leaders and separatists.
Youth have pelted stones at paramilitary police deployed in Srinagar, and the latest detentions took place in parts of the city where such incidents have occurred, a police officer said.
"These arrests have been made in the areas where there has been intensifying stone pelting in the last few days,” the officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.
A local government official confirmed the latest detentions.
The withdrawal of the special privileges of Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution means residents of all parts of India can buy property and compete for government jobs and college places, raising fears that it will be flooded with outsiders.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's surprise move has also increased tensions with Pakistan which lays claim to Kashmir and has accused India of human rights violations.
Authorities in Kashmir on Monday said the protests were local and small in nature involving no more than a dozen people. Still, primary schools remained deserted on Tuesday as they were the previous day as parents worried about the safety of their children kept them at home.
Reuters visited three schools in Srinagar including Presentation Convent Higher Secondary School and no students had turned up and classes were deserted.
“Some teachers reported to duty but left as there were no students”, said an official of the school.
Authorities had ordered schools to reopen on Monday after a two-week closure as a sign of normalcy. Srinagar's top city official Shahid Choudhary asked schools to ensure resumption of bus services.
A driver, however, said it was difficult to operate buses in such a volatile situation. “It is very risky for us and the students," he said.