Srinagar: About 25 boys, most of them under 18 years of age, were arrested by police in downtown Srinagar on Sunday, their family members said. They said ahat police laid a cordon in and around the old city on Sunday and arrested 25 youth on charges of stone pelting. Most of the arrested boys have been lodged at Sri Ranbir Singh Gunj police station.
Waiting outside the police station, the families of the arrested boys claimed that their children were not part of any protest and that police had arrested them on false charges. Most of the arrested boys are juveniles, students of classes 8-10.
A family member of one of the arrested boys said that he did not know the whereabouts of his nephew till he received a call from him saying he had been arrested.
“My nephew is only 16 years old. He along with his friend was arrested when they were travelling to his maternal home on a scooter. I received a call from him at about 7pm. He said he had been arrested by police and then the phone got disconnected. I did not know in which police station he was,” the boy’s uncle said.
“He was not part of any protest. How can a person be part of stone-pelting while driving a scooter?” he said.
Relatives and family members of the other arrested boys said that police are not saying clearly on what charges the boys have been arrested. “We don’t even know how they arrested our children. We are waiting since morning to meet our children,” the relatives and family members said.
The father of an arrested boy said that his son, a Class 7 student, was arrested while he was on his way to visit a dentist. “Our son had gone to visit the dentist. He was in an autorickshaw when he was arrested by police. The police took him to the Ranbir Singh Gunj police station, from where he called us and informed about the arrest,” the father said.
“If they have arrested a Class 7 student, how they can keep him in lockup for more than 24 hours?” he said.
Station House Officer SR Gunj, Mohammad Manzoor told Reader that the police have evidence against the arrested boys and are investigating further. He refused to provide further information over the phone.
“We have videos and pictures which prove that the arrested youth have been part of stone-pelting and clashes with police,” Manzoor said. “If you need any more information, you should come down to the station or contact the Superintendent of Police,” he said.
Despite several attempts to contact him, SP Khanyar Sajad Khanday was not available to take the call.