Indian Occupied Kashmir: People continue to suffer under military siege

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Srinagar, October 19 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, the people of Kashmir Valley and Muslim majority areas of Jammu region continue to suffer immensely due to strict military siege imposed by India.

Normal life remains crippled on the 76th consecutive day, today, in the Kashmir Valley and parts of Jammu due to restrictions and gag on internet and prepaid mobile services. Despite the Indian authorities’ efforts to restore normalcy in occupied Kashmir, people continue to observe shutdown as a silent protest against India’s recent actions in the territory. Shops and business establishments remain closed most of the time except for few hours in the morning and evening while public transport is off the roads.

The Indian authorities tried to hoodwink the world community about the prevailing situation of the territory by announcing opening of educational institutions but failed in their designs as the parents are reluctant to send their wards to schools, colleges and universities, fearing for their safety. The authorities have also deputed magistrates in educational institutions across occupied Kashmir to monitor the activities of students.

On the other hand, the online business has come to a grinding halt owing to the ongoing internet blackout strictly enforced by the Indian government since the 5th of August. Even online companies have suffered huge losses as buyers from occupied Kashmir are unable to enter into any online transaction due to the communications blockade.

London-based world human rights watchdog, Amnesty International in a statement posted on its website said that it documented a clear pattern of the Indian authorities arbitrarily detaining activists, politicians and even children if they are thought to hold dissenting opinions besides using excessive force and intimidation as the crackdown in occupied Kashmir continues. After conducting interviews in the occupied territory in the last six weeks, the Amnesty International India demanded the immediate release of all detainees held without charge or trial, and a complete lifting of the communications blackout in the territory.

A large number of Pakistanis, friends of Pakistan from other communities and media representatives attended an event organized by Pakistan High Commission in London to express solidarity with the oppressed people of occupied Kashmir. On the occasion, the photos documented by various international institutions and human rights organisations depicting Indian atrocities on the Kashmiris were displayed.

In Washington, ahead of a crucial US Congressional hearing on South Asia on Tuesday which will focus on the Kashmir Valley, the Kashmir Human Rights Foundation, a California-based not-for-profit organisation, held an event at Capitol Hill to brief key rights activists about the prevailing situation in occupied Kashmir. The briefing also saw the attendance of more than 130 congressional staff members. The panelists acquainted them with the Kashmir dispute, the demand of right to self-determination and human rights abuses being perpetrated by Indian troops in occupied Kashmir. The staff members were also briefed about the siege that millions of Kashmiris were undergoing for more than two months now.

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