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4,000 detained in Kashmir since autonomy stripped: Govt sources

Srinagar: Thousands of people have been detained in Indian Kashmir over fears of unrest after New Delhi stripped the region of its autonomy two weeks ago, government sources said.
A magistrate speaking on condition of anonymity said at least 4,000 people were arrested and held under the Public Safety Act (PSA), a controversial law that allows authorities to imprison someone for up to two years without charge or trial.
“Most of them were flown out of Kashmir because prisons here have run out of capacity,” the magistrate said, adding that he had used a satellite phone allocated to him to collate the figures from colleagues across the Himalayan territory amid a communications blackout and lockdown imposed by authorities. The revelations came as the family of a timber trader alleged he died after suffocating from tear gas fired by security forces.
“They (security forces) first damaged the property and when he went out to check, they fired tear gas shells and because of the smoke, he suffocated and died,” Muddasir Ahmed, the nephew of 62-year-old Sidiq Khan, said Sunday during his wake. The Kashmir government did not immediately respond to a request for comment. One youth had died in the early days of the lockdown after he jumped into a river while being chased by police. (AFP)

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