HRW asks India to end crackdown, release detainees

Srinagar, October 09 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, normal life remained crippled on the 66th day, today, as military lockdown has cost the territory’s economy more than Rs 200 billion over the past two months.

Amid continued military siege, internet and mobile phone services are snapped, public transport is off the roads, and business establishments are shut while schools and offices continue to wear a deserted look. The lockdown has rendered more than 50,000 workers jobless in the carpet industry alone. There is also a shortage of skilled labour in occupied Kashmir, as some 400,000 migrants have left since India imposed undeclared martial law in occupied Kashmir on 5th August. As per industry experts, Srinagar’s almost 1,000 iconic houseboats have been running empty due to absence of tourists.

Amid unprecedented restrictions and communications blackout, residents of the Kashmir Valley have mocked Governor’s directive asking for lifting travel advisory saying who will come to Kashmir when even locals are finding it hard to move and communicate with their next-door relatives.

Meanwhile, Kashmiri activist, Shehla Rasheed has announced her disassociation from electoral politics saying that she cannot be party to the exercise of legitimizing the brutal suppression of her people in occupied Kashmir. Shehla, a former vice-president of the JNU Students’ Union, in a statement called the Block Development Council polls a sham electoral exercise being carried out by New Delhi in order to convince the world that India is still a democracy.

The Indian National Congress in occupied Kashmir has declared to boycott upcoming Block Development Council polls in protest against detention of party leaders. Congress leader, Ghulam Ahmad Mir, while addressing a press conference in Jammu said that the elections were being held to facilitate only one ruling party, Bharatiya Janata Party. »

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New Delhi, October 09 (KMS): Around 132 alumni, teachers and students of the various Institutes of Technology across India have written to Modi govt against the sustained brutalisation of Kashmiris.

They wrote that the eight million people of the Kashmir Valley have been under lockdown for more than two months now, while mobile phones and internet services have been shut down, and hardly any news is allowed to escape from the valley.

The letter also says that the information blackout is almost total. However, it maintains, reports of mass arrests, tortures and encounters have filtered through the international media. The letter also mentions the shortage of medicines and health supplies amid govt’s false pitch for normalcy. They urged the government to restore communications immediately, release the political prisoners, and work towards resolving the conflict respecting the democratic aspirations of the people of J&K. »

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New Delhi, October 09 (KMS): Around 132 alumni, teachers and students of the various Institutes of Technology across India have written to Modi govt against the sustained brutalisation of Kashmiris.

They wrote that the eight million people of the Kashmir Valley have been under lockdown for more than two months now, while mobile phones and internet services have been shut down, and hardly any news is allowed to escape from the valley.

The letter also says that the information blackout is almost total. However, it maintains, reports of mass arrests, tortures and encounters have filtered through the international media.

The letter also mentions the shortage of medicines and health supplies amid govt’s false pitch for normalcy. The fact that the govt has to snap internet and mobile services for a whole population in order to maintain normalcy is an ominous sign for the society, it adds, while urging the government to restore communications immediately, release the political prisoners, and work towards resolving the conflict respecting the democratic aspirations of the people of J&K. »

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New Delhi, October 09 (KMS): The global watchdog, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged India to release political prisoners, end crackdown operations and restore internet and mobile services in occupied Kashmir.

The HRW South Asia Director, Meenakshi Ganguly in a statement issued on the website of the organization said that it had been over two months since the Indian government revoked constitutional autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir and split it into two union territories, yet abusive restrictions including a lockdown on internet and mobile phone services remained in place.

HRW South Asia Director said, numerous foreign leaders have expressed concern over the government’s continued detention of Kashmiri leaders and anyone deemed likely to protest, use of torture, restrictions on movement enforced by a massive military presence, and problems in accessing public services, including emergency medical care. »

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Beijing, October 09 (KMS): Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Wednesday that he was watching the situation in occupied Kashmir and would support Pakistan in issues related to its core interests, Reuters reported quoting Xinhua news agency.

President Xi told Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan during a meeting in Beijing that the right and wrong of the situation was clear, the report said. He added that the parties should resolve the dispute via peaceful dialogue.

Xi’s remarks came as he is scheduled to meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Chennai later this week.

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Srinagar, October 09 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, former student leader and activist Shehla Rasheed on Wednesday announced her disassociated from electoral politics saying that she cannot be party to the exercise of legitimizing the brutal suppression of her people.

Shehla Rasheed, a former vice-president of the JNU Students’ Union, said her announcement was prompted by the Indian government’s move to hold Block Development Councils elections in Kashmir, where communication restrictions are in place.

In a statement, Shehla Rashid called the Block Development Council polls a “sham electoral exercise” being carried out by New Delhi “in order to convince the world that India is still a democracy”. She said, “Indian government continues to abduct children in Kashmir, and even people are deprived of the means to call an ambulance and other emergency services”. »

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Chandigarh October 09 (KMS): BJP candidate Sonali Phogat has asked a group of people if they were from Pakistan when they did not chant ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ at her rally in the Adampur constituency in Hisar district of Haryana.

Addressing a few people who remained silent after she asked the audience to raise the slogan at the rally Sonali Phogat said, “Pakistan se aaye ho kya? Pakistani ho kya? Agar Hindustan se aaye ho to Bharat Mata ki Jai bolo. (Have you come from Pakistan? Are you Pakistanis? If you are from India chant ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’).”

The rally was held in Balsamand village in Adampur in Hisar district. Phogat (40) then repeated her chants of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’.

Turning to that section in the crowd again, on her right, she said, “I feel ashamed that people like you too are Indians, who would not chant ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ for petty politics.”

In a video of Phogat’s purported outburst, which went viral on social media, she is seen further telling them, “Those who cannot say ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’, their vote has no value”.

“Shame on those who cannot chant ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai.”

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Woes deepen as lockdown stifles IOK’s economy: report

Srinagar, October 09 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, the ongoing lockdown has cost the region’s economy more than $1 billion in two months, BBC said quoting industry experts.

The BBC in its report on the prevailing situation in the occupied territory says, “Two months on, the situation is far from normal. Internet and mobile phone connections remain suspended, public transport is not easily available, and most businesses are shut …………. There is also a shortage of skilled labour, as some 400,000 migrants have left since the lockdown began.”

Mushtaq Chai recalls the afternoon of 2nd August when he received a “security advisory” from the administration. A prominent local businessman, he owns several hotels across the Muslim-majority valley of Kashmir.

The note advised that tourists and Hindu pilgrims should “curtail their visit… and return as soon as possible”.

Mr Chai, like many others, took the advisory seriously. “This was the first time in Kashmir’s history that tourists and pilgrims were asked to leave,” Chai says.

Tourists left Kashmir amid a curfew in August. »

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IOK lost over $ 1.4 bn in 2 months of ongoing lockdown

Srinagar, October 09 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, normal life remains disrupted on the 66th day, today, in Kashmir Valley and Muslim majority areas of Jammu region due to strict military siege.

Amid continuous military lockdown, internet and mobile phone services are snapped, public transport is off the roads, and most business establishments are shut. Schools and offices continue to wear a deserted look.

On the other hand, as per industry experts, the ongoing lockdown has cost the region’s economy more than $1.4 bn in 2 months. A prominent Srinagar-based businessman, Mushtaq Ahmed Chaya, says that there are around 3,000 hotels in the Kashmir Valley and they are all empty. They have loans to pay off and daily expenses to bear, he added.

Srinagar’s almost 1,000 iconic houseboats have also been running empty. More than 50,000 jobs have been lost in the carpet industry alone.

Kashmir Valley’s famous apples are still waiting to be plucked from the trees because shops and cold storage units are shut and due to shortage of transport the apple growers also find it difficult to transport the apples outside the valley. If the situation continues through October, it will have devastating consequences, says an economic journalist, Masood Hussain. »

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Srinagar, October 09 (KMS): Vice-Chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Young Men’s League, Zahid Ashraf, has rubbished the Indian claims of easing the siege of occupied Kashmir, calling it a brazen lie and a petty eyewash to offset the rising wave of criticism across the globe.

Zahid Ashraf in a statement said that there was a not only complete lockdown but also total digital and communication blockade of the nine million innocent Kashmiris.

He said this bestial treatment has only added to the anger and hatred that had always been there against the Indian occupation and the world would witness it the moment siege is lifted.

Terming the global silence on the continued siege that has entered its 10th week as criminal and very unfortunate, he wondered that were the Kashmiris some sub-human species not entitled to the most basic human rights and fundamental freedoms? He warned if the Kashmir sore was allowed to degenerate further, there was every possibility that the region could erupt into a nuclear conflagration, inflicting a human catastrophe.

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