Curfew continues for 16th consecutive day in IOK

India failed to show manufactured normalcy: TV channel

Srinagar, August 20 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, curfew and other restrictions continue since August 5 when Narendra Modi government announced scraping of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.

The entire occupied territory particularly the Kashmir valley has been turned into a military garrison as Indian troops and police personnel are deployed in every nook and corner. In Srinagar, thousands of troops and policemen are patrolling the deserted streets, lanes and by lanes to thwart any attempt of people to stage anti-India demonstrations. The authorities also continue to impose information blockade as TV channels and internet links remain snapped and restrictions on media continue since 5th August.

Almost all Hurriyat leaders including Syed Ali Gilani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq continue to remain under house arrest or in jails. Thousands of other political leaders and workers including three puppet chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti are detained over the past two weeks.

Since August 05, an unprecedented communications blockade has been imposed in the region, cutting the region from the rest of the world and preventing contact within Kashmir and with the outside world for the 16th consecutive day, today. Due to severe blockade, a famine-like situation is emerging as people are facing acute shortage of essential commodities including baby food and life-saving medicines.

Despite the so-called direction for reopening of nearly 200 primary schools in selected areas of the occupied territory, schools were empty as wary parents refused to send their children to schools while the situation remains tense amid curfew and intensity of sporadic protests. Al Jazeera citing locals said that the Indian government was trying to manufacture normalcy by risking the lives of younger children amid the worst crisis Kashmir valley had witnessed in decades.

“The students in primary classes are of age less than 12. There is still 99 percent communications blockade in the region. What if there are clashes on the way? Who will inform us and who will take responsibility of their safety?” asked Safiya Tajamul, a mother of two children in Natipora locality. Nasir Mir, an engineer in Srinagar, told Al Jazeera that the situation was not ready for schools to open. “The government wants children in uniforms to be videographed for the media and sell it as normalcy in Kashmir,” he said.

In several neighborhood of Srinagar groups of protesters defying curfew came out on the streets and clashed with the police and paramilitary forces. “The youth in our locality have realised it is their last chance to do anything. They have decided to continue the protests. There is a lot of suppression. A large number of people are being arrested,” said Mohammad Shafi, a resident of Srinagar’s older parts where protests have been held every evening for two weeks.

Markets and shops remain closed in Srinagar. Transport services, including trains and a fleet of privately-owned buses, have not yet returned to the roads. “We are not going to open our shops. We feel it is a dangerous time irrespective of what social class one belongs to,” said a Srinagar resident who owns a shop in a local mall. “We will wait for some time.”

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