India marks Republic Day with more bloodshed in Kashmir


–Indian troops martyr two more Kashmiri youth in Srinagar, injure several others during protests against killings

–Kashmiris living across occupied valley observe ‘black day’ on India’s national day


SRINAGAR: Indian troops killed two more Kashmiri youth in the Khonmoh area of Srinagar as Kashmiris marked India’s Republic Day as “black day” across the occupied valley on Saturday.

Clashes between Indian police and residents of the area erupted in the aftermath of the killings, when Indian police used force to disperse demonstrators who had come out on the streets to protest.

The call to observe India’s Republic Day as “black day” was given by the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), that is led by Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik, the Kashmir Media Service said.

The JRL leaders said in a statement that India had “no justification” to observe Republic Day in Held Kashmir as the territory had been illegally occupied against the wishes of the Kashmiri people.

Kashmiri leaders, including Syed Ali Geelani, Ashraf Sehrai, Yasin Malik, Hilal Ahmed, Javaid Ahmed Mir, Zafar Akbar Butt, Abdur Rasheed Lone, Mushtaq Ajmal and Molvi Bashir Irfani, have been placed under house arrest or taken into custody and heavy contingents of Indian police have been deployed across occupied Kashmir in order to deter residents from staging anti-India protests.

All roads leading to the Bakhshi Stadium, the main venue of official function in Srinagar, have also been barricaded. Mobile services have also been suspended across India-occupied Kashmir.

On Tuesday, Indian troops martyred three more Kashmiri youth besides injuring several others, including four journalists, in Shopian district of Indian Occupied Kashmir.

As per details, the Indian Army killed the youth during a so-called cordon and search operation in Heff Shirmal area of the district.


The disputed region has witnessed a spike in violence since Narendra Modi, the Indian prime minister, took power in 2014. Analysts say the hardline policies adopted by the Hindu nationalist government may further worsen the situation.

So far this year, over 500 people, including a large number of civilians, have been killed in occupied Kashmir and more than half of them were freedom fighters fighting against the Indian rule. The number of the dead is the highest in the state since 2008 when 505 people were killed.

It is the deadliest year since 2008, said the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Societies, underscoring a worsening security situation in the Muslim-majority region controlled by India and half a million of its troops.

A police official said the high number of casualties in 2018 was the result of “good actionable information “leading them to armed rebels and their hideouts.

However, critics and local resistance leadership disagree. They say the Indian forces were escalating tensions in the restive region ahead of general elections next year in order to look tough on “Pakistan and militancy”.

“Dead bodies of Kashmiris, unfortunately, sell well in Indian elections,” said Khurram Parvez, programme coordinator at the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Societies. “The mindset dominant in India now is that by escalating violence, the people of Kashmir will be pressured to surrender.”

Indian security forces have used excessive force in Kashmir and killed and wounded numerous civilians since 2016, the United Nations said in June as it called for an international inquiry into alleged violations in the disputed territory.

The UN report focuses mainly on serious violations committed in the northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir from July 2016 to April 2018. Activists estimate that up to 145 civilians were killed by security forces and up to 20 civilians killed by armed groups in the same period, it said.

“In responding to demonstrations that started in 2016, Indian security forces used excessive force that led to unlawful killings and a very high number of injuries,” the report said.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein had also called for maximum restraint and denounced the lack of prosecutions of Indian forces in Jammu and Kashmir due to a 1990 law giving them what he called “virtual immunity”.

Shortly after its publication, New Delhi rejected the report, blasting it as “fallacious” and termed it “Pakistan authored” and a “nefarious conspiracy” against India. However, the allegations were shot down by the UN and Pakistan. “The report was developed through remote monitoring,”  the UN high commissioner had said in response to Indian allegations.