Occupied Kashmir under strict lockdown for 24th consecutive day


SRINAGAR: Indian government’s imposition of stringent curfew, after the abrogation of articles 370 and 35A of its constitution through a rushed presidential decree on Aug 5, entered its 24th day on Wednesday.

Indian occupation forces are being anticipated to conduct a major crackdown in held Kashmir’s Soura region, where violent clashes had erupted between protesters chanting slogans against New Delhi’s aggression and illegal moves in the Muslim-majority Himalayan region.

Kashmir has been an epicenter of wars between Pakistan and India for several decades since the partition of the sub-continent in 1947 after getting independence from the British rule.

Speaking on a condition of anonymity, a top Indian police official told the media that the Indian Army was preparing an operation in the area where, on Friday, a demonstration rally was held on the call of local leaders resisting Indian occupation.

On Tuesday, scores of people defied the curfew again in south, north, and central Kashmir against India’s latest onslaught and attempt to alter the demography of the region.

Many were injured when Indian Army soldiers opened fire, using pellets, bullets, and teargas shells on protesters in the Soura neighborhood, it said, as New Delhi deliberately aimed to destroy businesses.

A handicrafts store owner, Sameer Wani, told media men that it was a ‘do-or-die’ situation for Kashmiris amid deliberate destruction of their businesses and trampling of basic rights by the occupational forces. Many protesters said that they were worried about their teenage sons, who were abducted by the troops during nocturnal raids.

Meanwhile, people are facing a severe shortage of food, medicines and other commodities due to unabated curfew and communication blockade.

Markets and schools are still shut while all internet and communication services including landline phone, mobile, and TV channels are closed in Kashmir valley and districts of Jammu region. Local newspapers are offline while most of them failed to bring out their print editions.

Over 10,000 Kashmiris including hundreds of political leaders and workers like Syed Ali Gilani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai continue to remain under house arrest or in jails.

Leaders, belonging to various political parties including the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) during a meeting in Dras, rejected the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) into two union territories – Jammu and Kashmir, and the Ladakh. They said that they would remain a part of Jammu and Kashmir.

Samajwadi Party leader, Akhilesh Yadav, addressing a press conference in Lucknow, slammed the Indian government for restricting the movement of people in Jammu and Kashmir, and said: “What happened in Kashmir can also happen to the people of Uttar Pradesh.”

The Joint Action Committee (JAC), Kargil, while expressing resentment against abrogation of Articles 370 and 35-A of the Indian constitution and imposition of continued curfew and communication blockade in the Kashmir valley by Narendra Modi-led government in New Delhi has called for a two-day strike in Kargil from today.

The decision was taken during a joint meeting of the Joint Action Committee, Kargil, and Coordination Committee, Dras.

As per a press release, it was decided in the meeting that complete strike will be observed in Dras, Kargil, Sanko and other areas of Kargil district on Wednesday (today) and Thursday.

A doctor, Omar Salim, was arrested by Indian police officials after he informed media about the terrible health crisis following the ‘worsened’ clampdown in the territory.

Dr Omar Salim, who is a urologist at the Government Medical College, Srinagar, had appeared at Press Enclave in Srinagar to speak to the media, wearing a doctor’s apron. He also held a placard that stated he was making a “request and not a protest”.

Salim had only spoken for 10 minutes when police personnel whisked him away to some unknown location.

Attempts to locate whereabouts of Salim were thwarted by the information blockade. A spokesperson for the occupation authorities, Rohit Kansal, the only official interface between the authorities and journalists, skipped the media briefing, reported The Telegraph.

Omar stated the information blockade and travel restrictions were endangering the lives of patients, particularly those who are in need of dialysis or chemotherapy.

Unidentified gunmen abducted a man and subsequently killed him in Tral area of Pulwama district.