The authorities of Kashmir occupied by India have arrested almost 4,000 people since the scrapping of their special status last month, according to government data, the clearest evidence to date of the scale of one of the biggest repressions of the region.
Kashmir, a Muslim majority, has been in crisis since India stripped the region of its special autonomy and statehood on August 5, which led to clashes between security forces and residents and increased tension with Pakistan.
India said that the elimination of the status occupied by Kashmir since the independence of Great Britain in 1947 would help to integrate it into the Indian economy, for the benefit of all.
In an attempt to suppress the protests that the reform triggered in the occupied region, India cut Internet and mobile services and imposed curfew restrictions in many areas.
He has also arrested more than 3,800 people, according to a government report dated September 6 and seen by Reuters, although around 2,600 have been released since then.
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Interior of India did not respond to a request for comment. Nor the police of Jammu and Kashmir.
It was not clear on what basis most people were detained, but an Indian official said some were under the Public Security Law, a law in occupied Kashmir that allows detention for up to two years without charges.
The data for the first time show the extent of the arrests, as well as indicate who was collected and where. More than 200 politicians, including two former chief ministers of the region, were arrested, along with more than 100 leaders and activists from an umbrella organization of political groups.
Most of those arrested, more than 3,000, were listed as "stone throwers and other criminals." On Sunday, 85 detainees were taken to a prison in Agra, in northern India, a police source said.
The human rights group Amnesty International said the repression was "distinct and unprecedented" in the recent history of the region and that the arrests contributed to "widespread fear and alienation."
"The blackout of communication, the repression of security and the detention of political leaders in the region have made things worse," said Aakar Patel, head of Amnesty International India.
& # 39; Right to life & # 39;
India says that detentions are necessary to maintain order and prevent violence, and notes the relatively limited number of victims compared to previous episodes of riots.
The government says only one person's death was confirmed compared to dozens in 2016, when the murder of a Kashmir fighter caused widespread violence.
"The right to life is the most important human right," India's national security adviser Ajit Doval told reporters recently.
The report contains data from the 13 police districts that make up the Kashmir Valley, the most populated part of the Himalayan region where the main city of Srinagar is located.
The highest number of arrests has been in Srinagar, according to the data, with almost 1,000. Previous riots often focused on rural areas.
Of the political leaders arrested, more than 80 were from the People's Democratic Party, formerly in coalition in Jammu and Kashmir with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
Some 70 are from the National Conference, which for years has dominated politics in occupied Kashmir, and more than a dozen of the main opposition party of the Indian Congress.
Police also arrested more than 150 people accused of association with armed groups fighting against Indian rule.
An Indian official said it was likely that more than 1,200 people were still detained, including all the high-profile politicians and separatists mentioned in the report, while dozens more are arrested every day.
In the 24 hours before the report was compiled, more than two dozen people were arrested, mainly on suspicion of throwing stones at the troops, according to the data.
The data did not include those under informal house arrest, or people detained in a raid of separatists that began in February after the Pulwama attack, in which more than 40 Indian soldiers died.
Days before the Indian movement to strip Kashmir of a special status, said a prominent Kashmir leader Reuters that more than 250 people linked to the movement were already detained.