At least 10 youths were arrested for protesting against a court’s decision to sentence Mohammed Yasin Malik, a prominent Kashmiri pro-independence leader, to life in prison.
Police in India-administered Kashmir have arrested at least 10 people during overnight raids following an anti-India protest that erupted as a court sentenced a prominent Kashmiri pro-independence leader to life in prison.
Thursday’s protest was followed by a clash between dozens of youths and government forces that broke out after the sentencing on Wednesday of Mohammed Yasin Malik.
Malik, 56, is the chief of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), which advocates independence on both sides of Kashmir.
Malik was arrested in 2019 and was convicted last week on charges of committing “terrorist acts”, illegally raising funds, and criminal conspiracy and sedition.
The youths were arrested for “anti-national sloganeering & stone pelting outside home of Yasin Malik,” police wrote in a tweet. They said more people were being identified and would be arrested soon.
Police also tweeted a picture of the arrested standing in a row holding their ears with both hands, in an act that is seen as a form of public humiliation and a way of expressing remorse.
Making Kashmiri residents hold their earlobes or do sit-ups on the roadside was common in the 1990s, when Indian government forces sought to humiliate people and dissuade them from supporting armed rebels fighting Indian rule in the Himalayan territory.
However, in recent years such practices have largely stopped as a form of punishment.
“The main instigators of this hooliganism will be booked under PSA,” the police tweet said, referring to the Public Safety Act, a harsh law that allows officials to imprison anyone for up to two years without trial.
Muslim-majority Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since British colonialists granted it independence in 1947.
Both countries claim the region in its entirety and have fought two wars over its control.