In the three weeks since the removal of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and its bifurcation into two Union Territories, there have been around 280 law-and-order incidents across 10 districts of the Valley with more than 160 of these in Srinagar alone, according to an internal report of J&K Police accessed by The Indian Express.
At least 80 civilians have sustained pellet injuries in these incidents, official sources said, adding that two persons are currently undergoing treatment in hospitals.
The police, an officer said, count as a law-and-order incident any episode where “a person violates a law” even if “a group of boys barricade roads in their colony… Or, when they rough up a civilian. There are brushes with the forces too but these have been minor and have not led to any serious injury”.
According to the police internal report, Srinagar has had more than 160 law-and-order incidents between August 5 and August 27. This is followed by approximately 22 incidents in Pulwama and 18 in Baramulla. The highest number of incidents recorded on a single day in the Valley was 24, reported on August 17.
Reporting of such incidents, the officer said, is high in Srinagar but “the intensity remains low” and “these are groups of not more than 10-15 people who are taking the law into their hands”.
Within Srinagar, areas of Safakadal, Soura and Nigeen have been witness to maximum protests since the J&K administration imposed a lockdown on communication and movements within the state, ahead of the August 5 announcement.
The Safakadal area in downtown Srinagar has reported over 30 such incidents while Soura has reported 20 and the Nigeen area 15.
Movement restrictions were back Friday to pre-empt any likelihood of stone-throwing incidents post prayers. In Jenab Sahab Soura, an area that has been volatile since the first day of the lockdown, around 1,000 people gathered for the prayers. And yet again, prayers were not offered at Srinagar’s Jamia Masjid.
An officer said one reason for the high number of incidents in Srinagar is its population of approximately 17.5 lakh, constituting about 30 per cent of the Valley count. “It is also difficult to predict Srinagar too precisely. In other districts, officers have understanding of pockets where such law and order incidents may occur,” the officer said.
Security forces in the Valley, the officer said, are focussed on “ensuring that there is no loss of life” and “are tackling mobs based on the intensity of the crowds”.