In a major crackdown on separatists, Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front Chief Yasin Malik was arrested from his residence in Srinagar in a late night raid on Friday.
According to reports, Malik was arrested from his Maisuma residence and has been taken to the Kothibagh Police Station.
Malik’s detention comes ahead of the hearing on Article 35A in the Supreme Court which is likely to take place on Monday.
Several Jamaat-e-Islami leaders were also arrested in the raid, including its chief, (Ameer-e-Jamaat) Abdul Hamid Fayaz, a Jamaat spokesman said.
The nocturnal raids were conducted in south, central and north Kashmir districts to mop up the senior-most members of the political group.
The authorities have given no explanation as to why the raids were necessitated on the oldest religio-political organisation which has over 5,000 cadres.
Following this, the Centre has sent hundred additional companies of paramilitary forces to the state on an urgent basis.
After notice from the Home Ministry late on Friday night, 100 additional companies of paramilitary soldiers were airlifted to Srinagar to support the Jammu and Kashmir Police and the existing security forces in handling the situation.
There has been a state of emergency in the Valley after the Pulwama terror attack in which over 44 CRPF personnel were killed and many injured on February 14 in one of the deadliest terror strikes in Jammu-Kashmir when a Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) suicide bomber blew up an explosive-laden vehicle near their bus in Pulwama district.
The bus was part of a convoy of 78 vehicles carrying around 2500 CRPF personnel from Jammu to Srinagar.
In a major step taken in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack, the Centre on Sunday withdrew the security cover of five top separatists – Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Abdul Gani Bhat, Bilal Lone, Hashim Qureshi and Shabir Shah was already withdrawn on Sunday.
Soon after, on Wednesday, the Jammu and Kashmir government downgraded and withdrew the security of 18 separatists which also included Hurriyat leaders include Syed Alishah Geelani and Yasin Malik who were left out when security cover of five separatists was withdrawn earlier the week.
In addition, the security of 155 political persons and activists, who did not require the security provided to them based on their threat assessment and their activities, was also withdrawn.
The Hurriyat leaders reacted to the move calling it a “propaganda gimmick” while adding that they “do not need it”.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh, during his visit to Srinagar a day after the Pulwama attack had said security given to people getting funds from Pakistan and its snooping agency ISI should be reviewed.
Without naming the Valley-based Hurriyat leaders and those indulging in anti-India activities, the Home Minister said there are some elements who are hand-in-glove with terror organisations and ISI in Pakistan.
The three top separatists, Syed Alishah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik have been keeping the pot boiling in Kashmir by issuing statements against India and the security forces. The demand to withdraw their security cover has been raised from time to time.