IOK a prison under military control: Indian activists » Kashmir Media Service

New Delhi, August 15 (KMS): Four prominent Indian political and civil society activists, who visited the Kashmir Valley after the abrogation of Article 370, on their return to New Delhi after spending five days travelling across occupied Kashmir, have said that the Indian authorities have turned the Kashmir valley into a prison under military control.

The activists in a report released in New Delhi said that the Indian media’s claims of occupied Kashmir being peaceful were grossly misleading. They said common people were seething, distrust against New Delhi had increased, which has marginalized pro-India parties and strengthened the hands of pro-freedom leaders.

The activists said the Kashmir valley looks like an open jail now and the people are not allowed to go out of their houses. They said the valley was on the edge and could erupt in protests as and when the authorities lift the curfew. They said the valley has witnessed protests, which the Indian forces have suppressed with the use of force.

In their report, the four activists said they went far beyond the small enclave in the centre of Srinagar. They said this enclave “where the Indian media operates and where a semblance of normalcy returns from time to time” has enabled the Indian media to claim, rather erroneously, that life in Kashmir is back to normal. “Nothing could be further from the truth,” they said.

The activists – a former member of the National Advisory Council and economist Jean Drèze, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)’s Kavita Krishnan, All India Democratic Women’s Association’s Maimoona Mollah and Vimal Bhai of the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) – were in occupied Kashmir from August 09 to 13, travelling widely inside and outside Srinagar.

They addressed the media at the Press Club of India in New Delhi to share their experiences from their visit to Kashmir after the Indian Parliament scrapped Articles 370 and 35-A and passed a law to divide the occupied territory into two union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. They were not allowed to show video clips they had recorded during the visit, which they released later on social media.

“Many told us that they expected massive protests to erupt sooner or later, and anticipated violent repression even if the protests were peaceful,” they said. They said people were afraid of coming on camera for fear of reprisal. Off-camera, the people accused the government of zulm, or oppression, zyadti, or excesses, and dhokha, or betrayal.

“To control this anger, the government has imposed curfew-like conditions in Kashmir. Except for some ATMs, chemists’ shops and police stations, most establishments are closed for now,” they said.

The activists said most people they met said doing away with Article 370 has ended the relation between Kashmir and India. “With Article 370 gone, India no longer has any basis for its claim over Kashmir,” the activists quoted people as having told them.

A common feedback was that India’s move has discredited pro-India parties and vindicated those who argued for Kashmir’s “azaadi” or freedom from India, the activists said. “Many people are happy about the treatment the pro-India parties are getting. These parties batted for the Indian State and are being humiliated now,” the activists were told. People expressed fear of a demographic change in the valley, and corporate groups taking over their lands, they added.

The activists confirmed that the valley, including Srinagar, have witnessed several protests. They said nearly 10,000 people protested in Soura in Srinagar on August 09 and Indian forces responded with pellets, injuring several. They said that they met two victims of pellet injuries in a hospital.

The activists said the Indian forces’ personnel have been “arbitrarily” picking up hundreds of schoolboys and teenagers, who are being illegally detained and women and girls complained that they were being molested during raids by forces.

There is a clampdown on the local media, Kashmiri television channels are not telecasting, and newspapers functioning under tremendous restrictions, they added.

The delegation spent five days in Kashmir. “Everywhere, we were cordially received, even by people who were very angry about the situation or sceptical of our purpose. Even as people expressed their pain, anger, and sense of betrayal against the Government of India, they extended warmth and unstinting hospitality to us. We are deeply moved by this,” they said and added that except one BJP spokesperson on Kashmir Affairs, they did not meet a single person who supported India’s decision to abrogate Article 370.

One Response to “IOK a prison under military control: Indian activists”

  1. 1. Muhammad Qasim Javed Says:

    Why india need 8 or 9 lakh army in Kashmir. The presence of Huge army in Kashmir give the message that every thing is wrong in Indian kashmir. There is need to give the chance of Kashmir’s people that they live in their valley according their wishes. I stand with the people of Kashmir and i strongly condemn Indian step about Kashmir.

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