Canada, August 18 (KMS): A Kashmiri woman who is studying in B.C. has said that she still cannot get in contact with family back home, nearly two weeks after a crackdown in the territory.

Zehra Munshi came to Canada last year to study for her master’s degree in law at the University of Victoria, leaving the rest of her family behind in occupied Kashmir.

Zehra Munshi has become one of many who have been unable to call, email or text their parents or siblings. She said that she last talked to her family on Aug. 4.

It was a couple of days later, and after multiple unsuccessful attempts to get her parents on the phone, when Munshi says she knew something was wrong.
“It was a horror,” she said. “You don’t realize the importance of talking to your family until it just gets taken away.”

On Saturday, authorities announced they had begun restoring landline phone services and lifting other restrictions. But Munshi says she still can’t reach her loved ones. “I tried 15 to 20 times today calling every number I know, but none of them has worked,” she said. “I don’t understand. To me, it’s a lie. And what do they expect; do they think this will bring back peace? It won’t.”

She said a plebiscite would allow people in Kashmir to decide whether they want independence from India, sending a direct message to the government. “What’s happening in Kashmir is undemocratic,” Zehra Munshi said. “In order to do this, [the Indian government] needed the consent of our legislature. So by bypassing that, it means they’re doing it illegally.

“You say you’re a democratic country, and then you’re doing this? In my mind, it’s not a democracy. It’s a failure of democracy.”

Zehra Munshi says she’s planning to reach out to local advocacy groups to seek assistance but hasn’t started looking at who to contact.

In the meantime, the only person Zehra Munshi is able to talk to is her brother, who is living in the U.K. and also can’t find any answers to how their family is coping with the uprising.


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