Kashmir under lockdown: All the latest updates

Source

The Indian government revoked the special status accorded to Indian-administered Kashmir in its constitution, the most far-reaching political move on the disputed region in nearly 70 years.

A presidential decree issued on August 5 revoked Article 370 of India’s constitution that guaranteed special rights to the Muslim-majority state, including the right to its own constitution and autonomy to make laws on all matters except defence, communications and foreign affairs.

In the lead-up to the move, India sent thousands of additional troops to the disputed region, imposed a crippling curfew, shut down telecommunications and internet, and arrested political leaders.

The move has worsened the already-heightened tensions with neighbouring Pakistan, which downgraded its diplomatic relations with India.

India and Pakistan claim Kashmir in full but rule it in part. The nuclear-armed neighbours have fought two of their three wars over the disputed territory. A rebellion in Indian-administered Kashmir has been ongoing for 30 years.

Here are the latest updates:

Saturday, September 21

Kashmiris struggle to meet loved ones in Indian jails

Hameeda Begum described her arduous journey from the Himalayan region of Indian-administered Kashmir to the hot and humid room in Agra Central Jail in northern Uttar Pradesh state, where the exhausted 70-year-old was waiting to see her son.

A man in his early twenties offered her a bottle of water, saying, “Don’t lose hope. You are not alone.” Hameeda drew a long sigh, placed her hand on the man’s hand and spoke in a barely audible voice: “May God give us patience.”

Read the full story here.

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India & Israel – Kashmir And Palestine – A Study In Brutality — Rebel Voice

As tensions increase in both Palestine and Kashmir, the following article takes a look at comparable aspects of both conflicts and the right-wing regimes responsible for them. Palestine has become synonymous with oppression and Apartheid. The actions of the Israeli gerrymander over many decades have been well documented. Those crimes against humanity continue to this […]

via India & Israel – Kashmir And Palestine – A Study In Brutality — Rebel Voice

Kashmir under lockdown: All the latest updates

Source: Al-Jazeera

Government source tells AFP an average of 20 protests a day took place in the disputed region in the last six weeks.

The Indian government revoked the special status accorded to Indian-administered Kashmir in its constitution, the most far-reaching political move on the disputed region in nearly 70 years.

A presidential decree issued on August 5 revoked Article 370 of India’s constitution that guaranteed special rights to the Muslim-majority state, including the right to its own constitution and autonomy to make laws on all matters except defence, communications and foreign affairs.

In the lead-up to the move, India sent thousands of additional troops to the disputed region, imposed a crippling curfew, shut down telecommunications and internet, and arrested political leaders.

The move has worsened the already-heightened tensions with neighbouring Pakistan, which downgraded its diplomatic relations with India.

India and Pakistan claim Kashmir in full but rule it in part. The nuclear-armed neighbours have fought two of their three wars over the disputed territory. A rebellion in Indian-administered Kashmir has been ongoing for 30 years.

Here are the latest updates:

 

Imran Khan on ‘genocide’ in Kashmir and possible war with India

Pakistan’s prime minister discusses his government’s controversies as well as foreign and domestic policies.

https://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/talktojazeera/2019/09/imran-khan-genocide-kashmir-war-india-190913134545416.html

It has been a year since the former cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan became Pakistan’s prime minister.

Khan’s campaign slogan was “Naya Pakistan” or “New Pakistan“, a reflection of his promises to turn the country’s economy around and end corruption.

But the first year of his premiership has not gone as smoothly as he may have hoped or even expected, especially in terms of the economy. The Pakistani rupee has lost 35 percent of its value during his time in office.

Khan’s critics call him the prime minister of u-turns, as he has been forced to go back on many of his campaign pledges in an attempt to rescue the situation.

“I’m glad they say I’m a prime minister of u-turns. Only an idiot doesn’t do any u-turns,” Khan tells Al Jazeera. “Only a moron, when he’s on a course and he comes across a brick wall, only that stupid idiot keeps banging his head against a brick wall. An intelligent person immediately revises his strategy and goes around it.”

But have any of these “u-turns” had a positive impact on the country?

In terms of foreign affairs, Pakistan is closer than ever to its neighbour, China. But relations with its other neighbour, India, are at a new low.

Asked whether these two nuclear countries are at risk of another major conflict, or even war, Khan tells Al Jazeera he “absolutely” believes war with India could be a possibility.

“Eight million Muslims in Kashmir are under siege for almost now six weeks. And why this can become a flashpoint between India and Pakistan is because what we already know India is trying to do is divert attention from their illegal annexation and their impending genocide on Kashmir,” he says. “They are taking the attention away by blaming Pakistan for terrorism.”

“Pakistan would never start a war, and I am clear: I am a pacifist, I am anti-war, I believe that wars do not solve any problems,” he says.

But, he adds: “When two nuclear-armed countries fight, if they fight a conventional war, there is every possibility that it is going to end up into nuclear war. The unthinkable.”

“If say Pakistan, God forbid, we are fighting a conventional war, we are losing, and if a country is stuck between the choice: either you surrender or you fight ’til death for your freedom, I know Pakistanis will fight to death for their freedom. So when a nuclear-armed country fights to the end, to the death, it has consequences.”

“So that’s why we have approached the United Nations, we are approaching every international forum, that they must act right now because this is a potential disaster that would go way beyond the Indian subcontinent.”

Until recently, Pakistan had made attempts to open dialogue with India “to live as civilised neighbours, to resolve our difference [over Kashmir] …  through a political settlement”, but according to Khan, this is no longer the case.

“We discovered that while we were trying to have dialogue, they were trying to push us in the blacklist in FATF [Financial Action Task Force] … If Pakistan is pushed into the blacklist of FATF that means there will be sanctions on Pakistan. So they were trying to bankrupt us economically, so that’s when we pulled back. And that’s when we realised that this government is on an agenda … to push Pakistan to disaster,” says Khan.

“There is no question of talking to the Indian government right now after they revoked this article 370 of their own constitution and they annexed Kashmir illegally against the UN Security Council resolution which had guaranteed the people that they would be able to hold a referendum, a plebiscite, to decide their destiny.”

Khan has not only faced criticism about the country’s ailing economy and his u-turns. Civil rights acitivists and journalists are saying that the space for dissent and freedom of expression has shrunk and that there was a crackdown against the media since he took office.

“This is utter and utter nonsense,” Khan says. “Pakistan is one of the freest places in the world in media …. the freedom that journalists have in this country is unprecedented.”

Asked about his government’s achievements after its first year in office, Khan says: “We are already in a new Pakistan … This government has done things which no government has done before. But, as they say, Rome was not built in a day. When you start making these massive changes, reforms, it takes time. The time to judge a government is five years … The first year was the most difficult period, but from now onwards people will start seeing the difference … the direction of the country is now right.”

Source: Al-Jazeera

Kashmir: Harbinger of the Second Muslim Awakening in South Asia

See Behind The Veil

On August 22, 2019 Genocide Watch issued two emergency alerts for India: one pertaining to the ongoing lockdown in Kashmir which is now over a month long, and the other for the state of Assam.  Coincidentally yet not surprisingly in both these cases Delhi, reigned by the Caste Hindu, stands as the perpetrator of atrocities against Muslims – Muslims in  Kashmir and Assam.

In Assam the ethnically Bengali Muslims, who first settled there in colonial times, have been under the threat of losing their Indian citizenship status – “as part of a decades-long pattern of discrimination” – Genocide Watch fears with due reason, the over 10 million Bengali Muslims in Assam face imminent danger of dehumanizing indefinite imprisonment in the ‘foreigner detention’ centers constructed by the state because the vast numbers of poverty stricken Bengali Muslims cannot prove they have the legal right to life of freedom in the Land…

View original post 2,479 more words

Kashmir under lockdown: All the latest updates

From Al-Jazeera News Desk

3c6bbe511bfb48848a3a5a66d0d9f379_18.jpg

The Indian government revoked the special status accorded to Indian-administered Kashmir in its constitution, the most far-reaching political move on the disputed region in nearly 70 years.

A presidential decree issued on August 5 revoked Article 370 of India’s constitution that guaranteed special rights to the Muslim-majority state, including the right to its own constitution and autonomy to make laws on all matters except defence, communications and foreign affairs.

In the lead-up to the move, India sent thousands of additional troops to the disputed region, imposed a crippling curfew, shut down telecommunications and internet, and arrested political leaders.

Here are the latest updates:

Kashmir: How journalists face harassment and threats of violence while reporting from behind India’s communications lockdown

By Zubair Sofi

Source

By restricting journalists’ access to the outside world and harassing them on the streets, the Indian government is effectively stifling reports of unrest in Kashmir following its decision to revoke the region’s autonomy, reporters, editors and rights groups say.

This week, the Supreme Court in Delhi ordered the government to respond to a petition by the editor of the Kashmir Times newspaper, demanding an end to the communications blockade that has been in place since 4 August.

In Srinagar, the Kashmiri summer capital, journalists described how they are forced to use motorbikes and back streets to avoid the maze of barbed wire and police blockades that have blighted the city’s road network since the Modi administration declared its move to strike down Article 370 of the Constitution, which gave Kashmir the right to make its own laws.

Without access to the internet, mobile networks or landline phones, hundreds of reporters in the Valley have been forced to share a government-run “media facilitation centre” with just five desktop computers, two of which are reserved for women.

Others, assuming use of the computers is being monitored, said they had stocked up on USB sticks and external hard drives to store mostly photo and video footage of protests and send out their data via friends travelling to different parts of India.

But if getting the story out is hard enough, it is while physically attending the protests that journalists find themselves in the most trouble.

In the days leading up to 23 August, pamphlets were circulated by protest leaders setting out a date, time and location where Kashmiris upset by the loss of their autonomy where asked to gather, in Anchar Soura, an area in Srinagar.

Some journalists managed to attend, but a number of them told The Independent they were stopped at a checkpoint after leaving, stripped of their identity documents and briefly detained.

Xuhaib Maqbool, a photojournalist who has worked in Kashmir for the last seven years, is living proof that journalists face the threat of physical force from the police – and that this danger is not necessarily a new one.

Xuhaib is blind in the left eye from an incident on 4 September 2016, when a policeman opened fire on him with a shotgun full of pellets – a “non-lethal” crowd control tool that has led to tens of thousands of injuries in the decades of separatist unrest in the region.

He believes the situation for journalists in Kashmir is more dangerous and life-threatening now than at any point in recent years.

Xuhaib says he was stopped by the Indian paramilitary forces on 17 August, during a protest which broke out after the death of a civilian, Ayoub Khan, amid clashes where the forces had fired tear gas.

He says the security forces refused to let Xuhaib and other accredited journalists take photographs documenting the protest, or even to stay and report it. “After many requests and pleading for half an hour, the policeman eventually told us to go, saying ‘Chal nikal, agar idhar photo kheencha to haddiyan tod dunga’ (go, if you click any photographs here I’ll break your bones),” recalls Xuhaib.

Police threats of violence towards journalists are a common theme in many accounts of what life is like reporting from behind the communications blockade.

In an incident the day after the government’s 5 August announcement, a reporter for The Independent and a photographer were attempting to document the new restrictions when they came across an army checkpoint with an armoured vehicle – and an old TV, being used to control traffic.

As they attempted to photograph the unusual scene, a group of policemen hauled the reporter out of his car, pulled his beard and forced him to unlock his phone and delete the photos.

Fearing for his life, this reporter did so, but was later able to recover the images from a “recently deleted” file. As the police returned the journalists’ identity cards, one officer threatened: “I have all your details. If you use any [of these] pictures, I will kill you.”

Shahana Butt, a senior TV journalist working in the region for Press TV, told The Independent she had never before worked in such difficult conditions.

“For the first 10 days, I had no idea where to go,” she said. “I have not seen such a situation in my 11 years as a journalist. The communication blackout has given open space for rumour-mongering. Detours and checkpoints hamper journalists from reaching events which need timely attention,” she said.

Kashmir Times editor Anuradha Bhasin, who filed the Supreme Court petition, said the restrictions on local journalists meant the media coverage of the crisis was skewed overwhelmingly in favour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.

“The government has its own publicity department, but over and above that, you have these big moneyed television channels, you have certain sections of print media who are virtually working as extensions of the government publicity department,” she told The Associated Press on Thursday. “They are giving a one-sided picture.”

Amnesty International has said the communications ban denies the Kashmiri people’s right to freedom of expression, and on Wednesday the regional director for Human Rights Watch, Meenakshi Ganguly, said the restrictions “should be lifted immediately”.

India applies its internet shutdowns using a British colonial-era law from 1885 stating that it is “in the interest of public safety and for maintaining public order”.

It uses such measures more regularly than any other country in the world, according to the US nonprofit Freedom House. And of the 340 internet shutdowns since Mr Modi came to power in 2014, more than half have been based in Kashmir, including 55 this year.

The shutdowns have a compounding effect, said Sundar Krishnan, executive director of the Delhi-based Software Freedom Legal Centre – disrupting businesses and schools and demoralising the public.

“It’s obstructing the free flow of information, but it’s also bringing many elements of a modern society to a grinding halt,” he said.

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